Photograph by Celtics534
Summary: AU. Harry hated Ministry balls and functions. He never wanted to attend any of them, and this one was no different. With another twenty eight minutes till he could escape, the time was seeming to drag. Until he met a witty and charming red head.
Categories: Alternate Universe
Chapter 1: Chance Meeting
Chapter 2: Chance Photo
Chapter 3: Chance Game
Chapter 4: Chance Case
Chapter 5: Chance Closure
Chapter 6: Chance Ending
Chapter 1: Chance Meeting
Author's Notes: Alternate Universe scenario. Harry never went to Hogwarts, and was raised by Sirius. The concepts that arrive later in the story are inspired by the song Photograph by Ed Sheeran
Harry could never understand why the Ministry threw so many parties and balls. He especially couldn’t understand why he was always required to attend. He made it painfully obvious that he hated the damn things. All he ever did at these poor excuses for parties was sit in the corner nursing his drink, at least until it was socially acceptable to leave.
It started after he killed Voldemort. Well, he didn’t really kill Voldemort, his own spell rebounded on him. Now three years later he was still stuck being a “puppet to the Ministry”, as his late godfather Sirius called it.
Harry mindlessly stirred his drink, making the ice cubes crash against the side of the glass. He had only been seventeen when he had destroyed all of Lord Voldemort’s horcruxes. With the help of Sirius and the Order of the Phoenix. He had been seventeen, when he had lost Sirius to the battle against Voldemort, a topic that Harry still found hard to talk about.
He would never regret what he did, taking down Voldemort, but he just hated that it made people expect his life to be put up like a show. People from newspapers followed him constantly when he was in public, asking millions of question that could range from ‘How did it feel to end the man who killed your parents?’ to ‘What do you prefer: boxers or briefs?’.
It had always been like that though. Just because when he was one years old he survived the killing curse. Sirius was always adamant about keeping him out of the limelight, even as a child he didn’t send Harry to the famous wizard school Hogwarts. No, instead, Sirius had recruited his old friend Remus Lupin to help train Harry.
Right before Voldemort tried to kill Harry with the killing curse, at the age of one, he had killed his parents. Leaving Harry to the guardianship of Sirius. Sirius had taken to the role. Raising Harry to be a mindful and powerful wizard, but because there was always a lingering threat that someone would try to hurt Harry, the two wizards had become reclusive. Living in a house out near Watermouth.
Harry had always loved living in their three bedroom cottage, right on the edge of the water. Because it was unplottable and off any road, they had plenty of freedom. They could fly whenever they wanted and they could practice spells without worrying a muggle might see them. There was only one issue Harry had when growing up, was the fact that he never got to be with anyone his own age. It was just him and Sirius, sometimes Remus, but no one less than twenty years older than him.
That all changed after he finally finished off Voldemort. He was free to be a normal young adult. But that fell through rather fast as everyone just wanted to gawk at him. They would blatantly stare at his scar, something Harry found awkward and annoying. So, Harry’s solution was to find a job where being famous did absolutely shit for you, auror. They didn’t care if he was famous or not, all they wanted was the field report in by six. That lead him to finding the two people that didn’t look right up to his forehead. First was his partner through auror training, and now his field work partner, Seamus Finnegan. Finnegan was a short sandy haired Irish bloke, who never treated Harry like Harry Potter. It was always just Harry or Potter, not the combination. Then there was Hermione Granger. A woman he met as she worked in the Magical Law Enforce Department. She never cared about his scar, she seemed more focused on his faulty paperwork. No scar looking and no special treatment, she was rather bookish, but still one of Harry’s favorite people.
Harry chanced a glance at his watch. He had been there for an hour, give another thirty minutes and he could slip out the back and no one would be any the wiser. He placed his glass down on the table, leaning back in his chair throwing his head backwards. He was exhausted. He had only just gotten back from a three month mission, and all he wanted to do was sleep for the next two weeks before he was sent on a longer mission.
“Oi Potter!” The thick accent of Seamus rang over the other noises in the room. Harry opened his eyes, tilting his head, to see Seamus walking towards him. Seamus had a large grin covering his face
Harry internally groaned. He knew that look. That was ‘come and be my wingman’ look. Harry hated that look. It meant he had to go talk to some girl, who just stared at his forehead for the twenty minutes, until Seamus got his arm around the girl he had been trying to woo.
Seamus sat down in the free chair next to Harry, “Harry, me mate, can you do me a tiny little favour?”
Harry snorted. It wasn’t going to be tiny. It never was. “What is it this time Seamus?”
“I need you to come and distract this birds friend. I mean this girl,” Seamus winked at him, “What a ride.”
Harry resisted the urge to roll his eyes. He still had another twenty eight minutes till he left, so at least he could use his time helping Seamus.
He stood up, “Alright,” Seamus beamed at him, “But you only have twenty eigh – make that twenty seven minutes till I leave.”
Seamus laughed, throwing his arm over Harry’s shoulder, “I won’t be needing more than ten, but feel free to stay and learn from a master.”
This time Harry did roll his eyes, but allowed Seamus to lead him through the crowd. They made their way through multiple stiff and haughty looking groups milling around. Seamus led them to the opposite corner from where Harry had been. Here two girls sat at their own table. One of the girls had light brown hair and hazel eyes. She was clearly an athlete, with her body, maybe quidditch? Her eyes watched Seamus as the approached, giving him a look over.
Harry turned his attentioned to the other girl. At first sight he thought his heart might have skipped a beat. She was beautiful, but not in the obvious way. She had a simple elegance about her. She was petite, with curves that flowed down her body. Her red hair, seemed to hold multiple shades as it fell down her shoulders. Her eyes were a simple brown, but there was light in them that give them personality. She was grinning as she saw them come closer. She was looking at Seamus as well, but not in same way as her friend. Her grin had a smug feel to it, as if she knew what Seamus was going to be doing.
Harry could only hope that Seamus was into the brunette.
“Hello again, dears,” Seamus said. “I wasn’t lying when I said I do have friends.”
The red head laughed. Harry felt his heart stutter again. “I didn’t doubt you Shay,” She said looking over at Harry. “I just doubted you could convince them to talk to you in public.”
Seamus wriggled a finger at girl, “Now now Gin. I’ll have you know I’m well liked by everyone,” He turned his eyes to the brown haired girl, “Especially once they dance with me. What do you say Nicola? Come and dance with little O’ me.”
Nicola give a quick glance at her companion. Gin, as Seamus called her, rolled her eyes at Seamus’s act, but smiled and gave a little head nod.
Seamus held out his hand to Nicola and led her away from the table, towards the small makeshift dance floor. Harry watched his friend pull his dance partner closer to him, than what was technically necessary.
“So,” Gin drawled her voice, pulling Harry’s attention back on to her. “Are you gonna sit? Or are you gonna just stand there for the rest of the night?”
Harry started slightly, making the girl laugh. He sat across from her, keeping his direction focused on the dancing crowd, while looking at the beautiful red head out of the corner of his eye.
Her eyes were trained on the dancers as well, but she decided to start the conversation, “So how do you know Seamus?”
Harry turned his body towards her. If they were talking it wouldn’t seem as odd if he was solely focus on her, now would it?
“Oh he’s my partner,” He tried to make himself sound sauve and enticing, but he doubt he succeeded. This girl seemed to have a hold on him, and he couldn’t shake it. Just the sight of her made him feel nervous.
She gave a very unlady like snort, which he found oddly attractive on her. “Well I hope he’s only a business partners, because it looks like he’s getting down to business with my teammate.” she made a small gesture towards the dance floor.
Harry turned to see what she meant. Seamus was locked so close with Nicola, Harry had a hard time tell whose arms were whose, as it looked as if he was trying to engulf her face.
‘Good for him,’ Harry thought internally grinning, as he turned back to Gin . Then it hit him what she had hinted at.
“Hey!” He exclaimed. “If I was with Seamus, he would never cheat on me. I’m way to good for that.”
Ginny laughed and turned to face him. “Well that sounds like a strong promise. My name is Ginny. What’s yours?”
Oh no. Harry’s least favorite question. This was the moment she would change in his mind. She would become ‘starstruck’ and just look at his scar. He could always come up with a false name, but it just didn’t feel right to him.
“My names Harry.” He wanted to close his eyes and so he wouldn't be forced to see the scar-lookup as he had dubbed it.
Her eyes flashed in recognition. Here it comes. But she never glanced up. Instead she moved her head slightly closer and said in a low voice, “Oh so your Harry Potter. Seamus mentioned he was working with you. Said you were an alright bloke. Mix that with your review of yourself, I say I’m will to give you a chance.”
Harry felt as if he had been hit by a stunner. She knew who he was, and she didn’t seem to care. He had never meet a girl like that, other than Hermione. They always seemed to act all… all giggly when he mentioned his name, but Ginny didn’t seem to care.
He couldn’t contain his grin. “I’m getting a chance to, what exactly?”
“To hang out with me, of course.” She winked at him. Another jump in his heart pattern. Merlin at this rate he was going to need to go to St. Mungo’s.
“I mean,” She continued, “You happen to be sitting with starting chaser Ginny Weasley of the Holyhead Harpies.” She used the back of her hand to flip her hair in an exaggerated way.
Harry laughed. She was beautiful, witty, and didn’t care if he was Harry Potter… Would it be crazy to propose to someone he just met?
“Well thank you for this wonderful opportunity. I’ll try not to squander it,” He said sarcastically, making her laugh. Blimey, he really liked making her laugh.
“Alright Mr. Potter, lets give you a little test,” Her eyes were filled with mischief, “Were gonna play a little game.” She pointed over to the dance floor. “We have to come up with what people are thinking. I’ll do one person then you do who they are dancing with.”
Harry followed her finger. She was pointing directly at a young man and woman. Her back was turned to them, but the wizard had an awkward expression. He looked slightly in pain, and was keeping his body pulled slightly away from his date.
Ginny cleared her throat and used a slightly deeper voice, “Merlin I hope she can’t feel my boner, right now” The couple turned in time with the music giving them a look at the woman. She looked embarrassed, and was pointedly keeping her eyes looking over her dates shoulder.
Harry couldn’t contain a snort. He made his voice go an octave higher, “Merlin, this is awkward. Why does it seem so… small.”
Ginny laughed out right, slamming her palm down on the table. “That is exactly what I was thinking too,” She choked out. “That poor woman. She clearly doesn’t want to use his… wand.”
Harry joined in her laughter. She was incredible. Harry had never met anyone that made him laugh this much, other than Sirius. Sure, Seamus had his moments, but Ginny… She pulled at him, like a magnet. Ginny pointed to another couple and continued their game. Harry lost track of the time. He didn’t care. This was better than sitting in his house, just reading or listening to the wireless. He never thought he would think it, but this Ministry party was actually… fun. When he finally glanced at his watch, it was an hour later then he planned to leave.
Ginny seemed to notice the time as well, “Alright I have been cooped up in here for all too long. You wanna leave?”
Harry nodded. He wanted to leave this party. They both stood. Harry did a quick check for Seamus, but couldn’t spot him anywhere. Oh well. Ginny led the way to the apparition point. Harry felt a sudden drop in his stomach. He wanted to leave the party, but he wanted to keep talking with Ginny.
As they walked Harry tried to come up with a reason they could continue their night. Nothing that didn’t sound pathetic, came to his mind. Ginny didn’t seem to notice his brain melting under his pressure. She reached the point first and turned to look at him.
She gave him a smile, “You know what,” She said leaning against a wall, “I think we should keep this night going. Do you like flying?”
Harry almost jumped for joy. He tried to make his voice sound collect, “Yeah. Actually I have my own pitch at my place, if you wanna –”
Ginny cut him off, “Wait like an entire pitch?”
Ginny rubbed her hands together, “That’s way better than just flying in my parents orchard. Yeah, let go to your place.”
Harry smiled, again having a hard time contain his happiness. “Great, uh, I’ll take us there,” He held out his hand. Instead she wrapped her arm around his bicep.
“Lead the way.”
Ginny had been to many quidditch pitches. There was the one at Hogwarts, then Holyhead, then all the ones she had played at during her few years as a Harpie. But Harry Potter had one of the nicest fields she had ever seen. It was clearly cared for. The grass was trim and fresh. The hoops were gleaned off of lights set up around the area. The only thing that made it different than most was the lack of seating.
She let out a low appreciative whistle., “Damn Potter. You weren’t kidding when you said you had a pitch.” She walked onto the middle of the pitch, spinning around slowly. “Where can I get me one of these?”
Harry let out a small laugh, “I made it myself, and the help of my godfather. We spent a lot of time out here when I was growing up.” Ginny noticed his eyes loose a little light at the mention of his godfather.
‘Clearly a touchy topic,’ she thought. She decided to move on. In the little time she had know this man, he had been a delight. He had charm, wit, and quite frankly he was attractive as hell.
She had appreciated him the moment she noticed him walking towards her. Unless you hated tall, dark, and handsome, you could help but appreciate him. His hair was unruly, making it look as if he had just gotten off a broom, something devilishly sexy. And his eyes were a refreshing green, a color that was lacking out there, if you asked Ginny. He wasn’t over running with muscles, which was another thing Ginny liked. Muscle men were, nine times outta ten, self absorbed.
Harry had moved over to a little shed off in the corner. He opened the door and pulled out two brooms. As he made his way over to her, Ginny noticed that the brooms were firebolts. It was exactly what Ginny played on for the Harpies.
He handed her one, which she took and mounted instantly. She hovered just to the side of his head. “So Potter,” she drawled. “You ready to face a professional?”
Harry looked at her, one brow raised. “Please, I’m Harry Potter. They say I can do it all.” His voice dripped with sarcasm. Ginny couldn’t resist laughing. He was nothing like she expected. All the stories she heard about him, when growing up, made him sound so serious. And the whole thing with Voldemort… Harry seemed so normal, well better than normal Ginny admitted to herself.
When she was a child she always had a small… ok it was a rather large and pathetic crush on Harry Potter. Never in a million years would she have thought she would be flying with him. It was rather sad, when she thought back on it. She had made her father and eldest brothers tell her stories about the famous Harry Potter for years. Now here she was at his house, cracking jokes and flying.
Harry got on to his broom and followed Ginny’s lead, as she rose higher into the sky. He did a quick lap around the pitch. She couldn’t help but admire his form. As a professional she saw the good, the bad, and the ugly. And Harry was the good, maybe even better than good. He moved with speed and grace, flying as well as any of her teammates. He seemed to have control at the break neck speed he moved at.
He moved to Ginny’s side, looking into her eyes, “And, how did I look?”
‘Like a alluring god,’ She couldn't prevent her brain from saying.
Her mouth however was always much more sauve than her brain, because instead of sounding like teenage fan, she gave a dramatic yawn and made a brushing motion with her hand. “Eh. I think my one year old niece can do that on her training broom.”
Harry raised one eyebrow at her. ‘How the hell does he even make that look sexy?’
“Well,” Harry let his voice drawl. “Care to show me how it’s done?”
Ginny reach across the air, placing her hand against his cheek and giving it two quick pats. She could have sworn his breath seemed to hitch at her touch, but maybe that was just her being hopeful.
“Do try to keep up now, luv,” She said with a wink.
Ginny moved her hand back to the front of her broom and took off. Whenever she flew, everything else in the world faded. Nothing was more important than flying and, if she was playing a game, getting the quaffle past the keeper. She moved as fast as she could, keeping low to her handle. She flew right next to Harry after her lap, stopping so close their legs were practically touching.
“Learn anything new?” She asked, her face feeling slightly flushed from the wind.
Harry was looking at her with awe. “Now I see why the Harpies win so many games.”
She laughed and lifted her chin with smugness, “You know it. Without me who knows where they would be in the league.”
“And your so modest too.”
Ginny gave his arm a little swat, letting her finger graze across his arm longer than what may have been necessary. His eyes bore into hers, the emerald green connecting with her brown ones. Ginny felt her breath go sallow, as he started to lean towards her. It felt as if a magnet pulled her towards him, making their mouths unite.
The kiss started out slow and tender, semi cautious. His lips were slightly chapped from his flight. It was chaste in terms of a kiss, but it sparked something in Ginny. Sure she had kissed others, hell she had multiple boyfriends before, so she had quite a few snogs under her belt. But kissing this man, kissing Harry was different than the rest. He seemed to push his emotions though his touch.
Slowly he pulled back, making Ginny wish he hadn’t. Slowly Ginny’s eyes fluttered open, she couldn’t even remember closing them. She bet if they had been on the ground on of her feet would have lifted off the ground like they did in all those cheesy romantic novels her mother read. Harry had on the most goofy, lopsided grin. Ginny felt a bubble of giddiness rise in her throat. She had just kissed Harry Potter, and she had put that look on his face.
A little bubble of her happiness came out in a small giggle, “Well if that’s how you treat all your house guest. I think I’ll be coming over more often.”
Harry let out his own chuckle, his grin still plastered to his face. “Only famous Harpie chasers, I’m afraid. Everyone else has to settle for a routine hug or handshake.”
She gave a small chortle, “Well it’s a good thing my teammate didn’t come back her too. otherwise it might have gotten awkward.”
“Yeah that’s why I don’t throw parties.” He paused while she laughed. “What are you doing tomorrow?”
“Well the usual I suppose. Practice until one, then have lunch, head to the team meeting till seven, eat dinner, and finish off my oh so exciting day by reading a good book alone in my flat.” She gave him a sly smile, “But I could use some company for lunch or dinner. Do you know anyone available?”
Harry took a hand off his broom and placed one finger on his lips, mockingly considering her question. “Well I know one person, but can it be anyone?”
Ginny gave him a tinkling laugh and waving her hand dramatically, “Of course not. I do have some standards.” She winked at him. “They need to have unruly, sexy black hair. Maybe they should also have gorgeous green eyes. Know anyone like that?”
He pondered her, moving his finger from his mouth, down to his chin and tapping it. “I think I may know one person just like that. Should I tell them to meet you at the Leaky Cauldron at seven fifteen tomorrow night.”
“Oh please, make sure you do.” She placed her hand onto his arm for the second time that night, moving her broom closer, so their legs were touching “I would hate to dine alone.”
She could see his chest rising more than a regular amount, a good sign in Ginny’s opinion.
His voice came out low, with a slightly husky feel to it, “Oh trust me, he wouldn’t miss it.”
Ginny grinned at him, and moved one hand off her broom and placed it on the backside of his head, pulling him down as she moved up towards him. The sparks were there just like the first time they connected. Maybe even brighter, as she relished the closer contact. He moved one of his hand and rested it on the small of her back. She allowed her fingers and thumb to become lost in his wayward locks.
She pulled them apart this time. Moving quickly she adjusted her grip on her broom and took off, yelling behind her, “Last one to the other end has to pay!”
She heard his indignant cry, but she just laughed as she sped off.
Back to index
Chapter 2: Chance Photo“Harry, you’re being ridiculous,” Hermione Granger said as she stood in sitting room of Harry’s cottage. “Anything you wear will be fine. Your acting like the girls I knew at Hogwarts. And that is not a compliment.”
Harry stuck his head around the door frame of his bedroom, blue button down shirt in hand. “What do you mean?” Harry asked feeling semi-hurt.
Hermione rolled her eyes at him, “Harry you said you really like this girl right?”
He nodded his head.
“Than just be yourself. If she likes you too, it doesn’t matter what you wear.”
Harry had never felt so unnerved for a date, but that might have been because he never liked any of the girls he went on dates with as much as he liked Ginny. They had only shared a few hours together and he already felt like she was someone special to him. He felt a stronger connection to her than he felt for most people, especially after only knowing her for less than twenty-four hours.
All day she kept cropping into his mind. He remembered her flowing, long red hair. He imagined her bright, beautiful chocolate eyes. And the way her lips felt on his. It was like a box of fireworks went off in his stomach when they had kissed.
‘Damn Potter,’ He continuously thought throughout the day, ‘You got it bad. Calm it down.’
Now here he was having a hard time deciding what to wear… just like a schoolgirl, who was going on a date. He hated it when Hermione was right.
Harry shook his head, trying to clear it. Why was he acting like this. When he went on that date with Cho Chang, six months ago, he hadn’t felt anywhere near this nervous. Yeah he had the regular nerves for that date, but nothing this bad.
“Do you want me to pick something out for you?” Hermione asked looking into his face. He must have looked out of his league, because if she was willing to do fashion for him…
He nodded his head, and she moved forward into his bedroom. After three years of friendship, they didn’t have many qualms with each other. They were perfectly comfortable walking into each houses without knocking and stealing a piece of cake from the kitchen. Harry and Seamus had the same relationship style. The two of them were like the siblings he never had, but always wanted.
Hermione opened his dresser and pulled out a red short sleeve button down shirt and a pair of clean dark blue jeans.
“Here,” She threw the articles at him. “I trust you can pick out underwear and socks.”
“I don’t know Hermione,” Harry teased, “Socks can be pretty complex.”
Hermione rolled her eyes affectionately. She moved to leave the room so he could change. As she past hims she gave his cheek a quick pat. “Oh I hope she has a snarky sense of humor too. If she does you two are meant for each other.”
Harry pulled out Ginny’s chair for her, at the corner table of the Muggle restaurant they had picked. They had met at the Leaky Cauldron at seven fifteen just like they planned. But they never planned for the way people would act when, one of quidditch star players and the man who stop Lord Voldemort, stood in the same room together. People crowded them instantly. Ginny had taken the lead, dragging Harry, by the hand, into the muggle street, where as soon as the Leaky Cauldron's door close the pair were just another couple on the streets of London.
They had walked hand and hand, discussing this and that. Finally they stumbled upon a nice italian bistro. It wasn’t overly busy, being a Wednesday night, so getting a nice seat was easy.
As Harry took his own seat their watier came over to take their drink orders. Ginny ordered a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, which happened to be Harry’s favorite type of wine, so he just ordered them a bottle.
Once the waiter left they perused their menus.
“Do you have any allergies?” Ginny asked looking at Harry over her menu.
‘Interesting first date question,’ Harry thought as he shook his head.
“Ok I dare you to close your eyes and order whatever item your finger lands on,” Ginny said as she placed her menu open on the table. Her eyes glinted in the candle light of their table, making them more entrancing to Harry.
“Alright,” He said slowly. “But you have to do it too.”
She smiled widely at him, “But of course, sir.”
They closed their eyes at the same time, and Harry pressed his finger down randomly on the hard paper. Opening his eyes his finger landed on one of the chef's specialties, mushroom risotto, a dish Harry happened to enjoy.
“What did you get?” Harry asked the woman across from him.
“Pasta carbonara, which is always a good choice. What about you?” She asked looking up from her menu.
He told her and she laughed and said, “Merlin, we both got such a normal dish. Typically when I play I get something out of the norm. But the rules are the rules, so we get the normal meals.”
“How often do you play this?” Harry asked. He was someone who had a normal order, so when he walked into to the same place they knew right away what to make him.
“Any time I go someplace new. My brothers and I always do it.”
“You have brothers. How many?”
“I have five, but I grew up with six,” Ginny’s face fell a little, “one of them died during the war with Voldemort. It was George’s twin actually.”
Harry felt like a stone dropped in his stomach, “I’m so sorry,” He said. “I lost my godfather to the war.”
Ginny nodded solemnly reaching out across the table to grab his hand. He happily accepted her warmth. She gave him a wan smile. No words needed to be said between them, Harry could tell. They both understood the pain of loss, something he had dealt with poorly over the last few years.
“What about your other brothers?” Harry asked trying to keep the conversation light keeping their hands intertwined.
She gave him a wide grin, “Well there is Bill, Charlie, Percy, George, and Ron.”
Harry let out a low whistle. “I know you said you had five but the number didn’t feel real until you named them all.”
Ginny laughed, that magical sound Harry had adored last night. “Oh yeah, just wait till you hear what they do for jobs.”
So she went off explaining her childhood. How she was the youngest and the only girl. About how she had always been close with Ron and Bill, the two brother farthest apart by age. She explained what they all did and how they differed from each other. She told her the horror stories of growing up with pranking brothers. In this time they had received their drinks, placed their orders and received their food.
“The twins use to pick on my constantly for the, oh this is going to be embarrassing,” Ginny face darked in the candle light as she flushed, “Well I use to have a small, minut really, crush on you.”
“Well,” Harry couldn’t help but smile at her admittance. “ I would definitely hang some Ginny Weasley posters on my walls now a days.” She let out a small laugh, encouraging him. “I hope they weren’t to mean to you.”
“No, really they weren’t so bad.” Ginny laughed as she twirled a pasta noodle around her fork. “They were actually really sweet boys. They gave me this on my sixteenth birthday.”
She pulled on the chain of a necklace, that Harry hadn’t noticed before. It was very simple and graceful, the exact way Harry thought of Ginny. A small red quaffle was held at the end of a silver chain.
“It was my old quaffle from my parents house.” Ginny told him with a fond smile on her face. “They shrunk it, and actually made it into a locket. So I can place a photo inside of it.” She open it to show him. One side held a photo of her entire family, or what he assumed was her entire family. Nine redheads all beaming up at the camera, behind them stood a pyramid. The other side of the locket, which would be the side to sit on her chest, remained empty.
“I haven’t decided what to put on the other side yet,” She told him closing the case.
“That’s incredible,” Harry said honestly. “That was such a great gift for you.”
She nodded, still with fond smile gracing her lips. She tucked the locket back into her shirt.
“What about you?” She asked as she took a sip of her wine. “I’ve told you all my embarrassing childhood stories. Though, I bet my mum has more, what was yours like?”
So Harry told her about being raised by his godfather and how close the two of them were. Harry couldn’t believe how easy it was to talk to Ginny. Even after knowing Hermione and Seamus for three years he hadn’t told them this much about Sirius. The hold Ginny had on him last night seemed to have tighten.
Harry told her about training to stop Voldemort and how he never really left his home for nearly sixteen years. How it wasn’t until three years ago he never had friends his own age. Ginny was a fantastic listener. She was attentive and didn’t interrupt, like Hermione would have. She just let him pour out his life story. By the time he finished they had both devoured their meals and ordered dessert and coffee.
“Sirius sounded amazing.” Ginny said as she took a bite of her tiramisu. “And I actually know Hermione Granger, she was in the same year as my brother at Hogwarts.”
“Oh yeah, was she as bookish then as she is now?”
“Well, I haven't seen her in three years, but yes.” Ginny said pointing her fork at him. Harry laughed. Again there she went drawing out his laughter, something other people just couldn’t do as well as her.
When the waiter brought over the check Ginny made to reach for it, but Harry swiped it quickly. “Because you were such fantastic company allow me to pay,” He said pulling out his muggle wallet he kept in his back pocket.
Ginny gave him a quick once over, but accept defeat, “Well, as long as it isn’t because of stereotypes.”
“Oh no if you had been horrible, I would have made you pay.” Ginny gave a low chuckle as she stood up. They walked to the exit, their hands naturally seeming to latch to one another. Harry couldn’t help but appreciate how well their hands fit with each other. Their fingers laced together perfectly.
The walked out on to the muggle street, making their way towards one of the many set apparition points located around London.
“Miss. Weasley,” Harry said in a mock pompous tone, “please allow me to walk you to your doorstep.”
Ginny gave him a sideways glance as they continued to walk, “Oh but of course, Mr. Potter. It’s the only acceptable way to end such a fine meal.”
They reached apparition point set, behind where Benjamin Franklin's house was. They went down the alley to the side of the buildings. Ginny kept her hand enclosed around his as she turned on the spot, pulling them into the tube like suffocation of apparition.
Ginny landed the two of them a few paces from her front door. She slowly walked them up to the door, she didn’t really want their date to end. It had gone better than any date she had been on in a long time. Even with the discussion of death, she had found conversation with Harry to be amazing. He listen really well, asked the right questions, and said the right things at the end of any of her tangents. Not to mention the way he told his stories. He was entrancing as he revealed information about his past. All she could do was stare and listen.
She lightly pulled Harry onto the stoop, her back to the door, “Well this is me,” She couldn’t stop the sarcasm from coming out even if she tried.
Harry grinned at her, “And did you notice we didn’t even have to stop for directions.”
The laughter bubbled out of Ginny, just as it had all night. Harry had a sense of humor that rivaled hers. She looked into his eyes. Just the eye contact made her stomach flutter, as if there were a million snitches flying around. Damn, his eyes. They were hypnotic. He could express so much through one gaze. She had noticed it at dinner while he spoke about Sirius. The love he felt for that man was evident, just in Harry’s eyes.
She slowly leaned in close to him, unable to resist the pull she had felt all night, just like she felt last night. He met her half way. Just like the last time they kissed, Ginny could have sworn a shock pasted between them. She lightly drew her tongue against this bottom lip, asking for access, which he seemed more than happy to grant.
Passion was the right word, that Ginny’s mind use to depict this kiss. Harry’s lips responded to her movements, with his own. One of his hands had moved to thread through her hair and the other pressed on her back, bringing her closer to his body, which she was more than willing to participate in. He gently guide her backwards, so her body was leaning on the door.
Ginny lost track of time as she lost herself in Harry’s lips. Eventually, he pulled back. Ginny wanted to let out a moan. She wanted to keep the contact.
“What are you doing tomorrow for lunch?” Harry asked huskily, with a slight pant, his chest heaving a little more than normal.
Ginny gave him a sly grin, “Well I’m hoping to meet up with a tall, dark, and handsome auror. Do you know if he’s free?”
He pressed a quick kiss to her cheek, “I know he would clear his schedule to meet with you.”
“So, wanna tell him to meet me at the Harpies stadium at one pm tomorrow?”
“I’ll make sure he writes it down on his calendar.”
Harry leaned in for another kiss, this one lasting much less than the last. He pulled back.
“See you tomorrow,” He pressed one final kiss on her cheek as he turned to go back to the apparition point, disappearing into darkness with a turn.
Ginny open the door to the three bedroom cottage she shared with her two teammates, Nicola and Mary-Ann. She quickly closed the door behind her and leaned against the hardwood. She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath.
‘Holy Shit!’ Her mind basically screamed. ‘That boy can kiss.’
She opened her eyes and say Nicola sitting at the small table that was positioned in the small kitchen she walked in. Nicola had a large smug grin plastered on her face.
“Hey Gin,” Nicola said with a light teasing tone, “Lovely night, right?”
All Ginny could do was beam back at her friend.
The next month was the best November Ginny could ever remember. She spent most of her free time with Harry. They would meet after her practices for dinner, or go to different muggle landmarks on her days off. He made her feel like all her senses were alive, when she was with him. It was almost like being high up on her broom, continuously getting closer and closer to the clouds. It was a thrill and exciting, something Ginny hadn’t realized she had been lacking in her life recently.
His conversations were interesting and made her laugh. His touches made her stomach flutter, just like the first time. And his kisses. Oh his kisses could make her feel lightheaded and sometimes left her breathless.
Five weeks after meeting at the Ministry party, Harry suggest they go to one of the Christmas Markets popping up throughout muggle London. Having never been to one, Ginny loved the idea. They agreed to meet after her practice on Saturday night.
When Ginny arrived, Harry was waiting for her leaning against a brick restaurant wall. The minute he noticed her, he came over and gave her a tight embrace. His hands presses into the small of her back, while her’s wrapped around his neck.
Pressing a light kiss to her lips, Harry said, “Such a fine night for a walk, wouldn’t you agree Miss Weasley?”
Ginny returned his favor as she replied, “I don’t know,” She gave him a sly grin, “I’m pretty comfortable right here.”
Harry give her a lopsided grin. A grin that could make the strong, feel weak at the knees. He removed one arm from her waist, but kept one encased around her. She took her arms away from his neck and mimicked his actions and he lead the way towards the market.
They walked, talking about everything and nothing, just like they had all their time together. Nothing seemed to be off limits with them. Even though she had only known him for such a short amount of time, Ginny felt like she could tell him everything. Something that felt odd to her. Odd, but good. She only felt like that with a few people in the world, including her brother Bill and her father. She felt like she could tell he anything and he wouldn't judge her. He just would listen and give his honest opinion, which was more than most men she had dated. People she went out with in the past always seemed to just be telling her what she wanted to hear. Harry told her the truth, even if it varied from her own thoughts
The street was lined with tables, littered with different trinkets. People milled around, holding cups of steaming liquid. Mulled wine, Ginny discovered as they found a vendor selling the warm drink. Harry bought them each a cup, as they continued along the path of businesses, keeping their hands connected. Ginny told him about how she use to sneak out of her house in the dead of night to fly, knicking her brothers brooms out of the shed.
“My brothers never let me fly with them because I was a girl,” She stopped walked and turned towards Harry, “But I showed them, didn’t I,” She mused.
Harry laughed, “I’m sure you became a professional, just to spite them.”
“Obviously. That’s how it works,” She said with a tone of sarcasm.
Harry gave another chuckle. He was looking right into her eyes, something she adored about him. He was never afraid of eye contact. Her first boyfriend, Michael, seemed terrified to meet her eyes. He would look slightly over her shoulder whenever they spoke, something that was extremely annoying to Ginny, especially when she was trying to win an argument. In his defense they were only fifteen and fourteen, but still. Harry never seemed to have that problem. He always made sure his green jewel-like eyes bore into her brown ones.
“You know,” Harry’s tone was lower than normal, a smile gracing his lips. “You always keep me guessing. I love discovering all these new about you everyday.”
His eyes continued to stare at hers, and to Ginny it was like the rest of the world faded. All the noise surrounding them seemed to disappear. All of London was gone. It was just him and her.
A flash caught her eye suddenly. They both turned their heads quickly to see a man holding a muggle camera. He was short, could be described as dumpy. He had brown hair laying flat on the top of his head. Around his neck was a lanyard with a badge at the bottom, claiming some muggle newspaper.
“Sorry about that,” The man said approaching the stunned couple. He held out his hand. “My name is Mitch Cooper. I work for the South London Press. I’m doing an article on the markets around the city. And you two were posed so perfectly. If you don’t mind I would love to use your picture in the article.” He beamed at the two, clearly trying to seem charming.
Harry shook the man’s hand, still looking semi-confused. Ginny felt slightly annoyed. Shouldn’t he asked before he took the picture? She was about to voice her question when he spoke again, “I typically ask first, but I didn’t want to ruin the moment. If you feel uncomfortable with it…” He let his voice hang off.
Harry turned his attention back to her, giving her a little shrug and a half smile. Clearly he wasn’t too upset by the idea. Ginny couldn’t help but smile back. Oh, what did it matter if their picture was in a muggle paper?
Harry looked back at the hopeful camera man. “Yeah that’s fine,” Harry approved making the man’s smile extend even further. “But,” Harry went on. “I would love it if you sent me a copy of it. If I give you my address could you mail it to me?”
Mitch nodded so enthusiastically, Ginny though he might lose his camera. “Sure thing!” He pulled out a piece of paper and a muggle pen. “Here write it down and I will have one developed for you in a jiffy.” Taking the pen, Harry did what Mitch asked, jotting down an address quickly. Mitch took his paper back, as soon as Harry finished and asked for their names for the credits in the paper. Ginny told him and he wrote it next to the address. Then he shook both of their hands exuberantly, and walked away back into the throng of people.
“Well,” Ginny astonished. “Here’s to hoping you and I look good together in photos.”
Harry snickered, and pressed a light kiss on her cheek, “Well I know at least one of us looked good.” He made a exaggerated carding through his hair.
Ginny lightly slapped his arm, but immediately hooked her’s around his, leading them back into the hoard of shoppers. “Just for that you your going to buy me large mince pie.”
Harry chortled through his nose, pulling her close to him, “Sounds like a good deal to me.”
Back to index
Chapter 3: Chance GameGinny waved her wand in rapid chopping motion. Instantly the knives she had been pointing at followed her lead, cutting up the tomatoes on the cutting board. She was at her flat in Holyhead, making dinner for herself and Harry. They had been seeing each other for three months now. Typically by this time in the dating timeline, Ginny would find something that extremely annoyed her about her boyfriend. It had happened with everyone in the past Michael, Dean, and Jason, a beater from Puddlemere United. She always would find some sort of annoyance in the boy, that made her grind her teeth. With Michael it had been his lack of commitment, Dean was too old fashion, and Jason had turned be rather sexist.
Harry wasn’t perfect, by no means. Ginny wasn’t blind to his imperfections. He lacked self confidence in some areas and he seemed to have issues expressing his thoughts when it came to his past. But all of that was much better than having Dean act like she couldn’t handle walking through a door, or Jason bringing up the concept that the Harpies only had fans because of their “outfits”.
Ginny placed a pot of water on the stove, and placed a heating spell on it so it would boil. She invited Harry over for a nice homemade dinner tonight. Both of her roommates were either at a club or pub, meaning Ginny had the house to herself for the night. The one, tiny issue with her plan was the fact that she didn’t really know how to cook much. Her mother could basically make anything, but Ginny seemed to lack that skill. She would rather be on a broom anyday.
So she when deciding what she could cook, she stayed simple. Pasta with nice sauce. Easy but tasted pretty good. Harry was due at five that night, planning to apparate right from the Ministry. That left Ginny plenty of time after she got out of practice, at two, to prepare a lovely meal for them.
She had just placed her pasta in the drainer when she heard a faint pop from outside, ‘Perfect timing,’ she thought as a knock came from the front door. She went over and opened it, revealing Harry. He gave her an award winning smile, and pressed a quick kiss to her cheek.
“Hey Gin,” He said as she moved back from the frame so he could come inside. She made her way back the kitchen, with Harry following her, and got out two butterbeers, Harry’s prefered drink. He graciously accepted the one she held out to him, with a quick thank you. Opening the top he took a quick pull.
“So, how was practice?” He asked as we went over to the cabinet and pulled out plates. Another thing Ginny appreciated about Harry, he would help with the dinner preparations. Some people would have just sat down and let her do all the work, Harry always gave her a hand whenever she cooked for him, which was only a few times, but still.
Ginny moved the pasta from the drainer as she answered, “Not to bad Gwenog didn’t complain much, which means we didn’t complain too much. I feel like we have a good chance against the Bats on Friday.”
“Well yeah, from what I’ve heard you guys have been almost unstoppable this season.” He gave her a sly grin. “There is a certain redhead on the team they are calling a ‘queen’.”
Ginny placed pasta onto both of the plates, “Well if the shoe fits…”
Harry laughed and gave her another quick peck on her cheek before taking his seat. They sat talking about the upcoming game and his job. Everything was so casual. Nothing felt forced as, again that feeling of being able to speak her mind freely him came to her thoughts. She was able to rant about her teammate, Addison Magret the second beater to Gwenog.
“And I swear she aims at me at practice,” Ginny told Harry as she levitated the plates off the table, into the sink.
“Well maybe you need a big strong auror on scene,” Harry gave her impish grin over his butterbeer bottle.
“Is that your way of saying you want to watch me play?”
“Well, I mean, how many people get to watch Ginny Weasley –”
Ginny cut him off, “About fifty thousand per week, give or take.”
“So just add little old me, and you got fifty thousand and one.”
She laughed, moving over next to his chair and leaned against the table. “Why don’t you come to this week’s game? I can set you up in the family box so you won’t be bothered by a lot of people. And as far as know none of my family is going so you will have the “Weasley Section” all to yourself.”
Harry stood up and cornered her to the table, leaning in close one hand pressed to her cheek, “That does sound like a tempting offer,” He moved his mouth down to her neck, lightly peppering it with kisses. “But you might want to sweeten the deal, have any idea?”
Ginny moved her finger under his chin, raising his face to be level with hers. Then settled her hands on his waist. “Oh I have a few offers for you Mr. Potter.” Then she brought her lips to his.
The Harpies Stadium was one of the leagues favorites. It was well build, with the stands made to bring in large crowds. The color scheme fit the team to a T. Green chairs lined the the multiple levels, with yellow outlining the pathways and stairs.
Harry sat in the “home team family box”. He arrived an hour early so he could get a front row seat. Ginny had added his name to her family/friend list. The security wizard had done a double take, but had allowed Harry to pass.
Arriving before the snitches release had its benefits, for starters all the seats were empty allowing him his choice of viewing point. Also he got to watch the teams warm up. He couldn't take his eyes off of Ginny. She was incredible. The way she just seemed to know where to pass the quaffle. The way she knew which way the bludgers were flying. Even without the pressure of the game, Ginny give it her all.
Ten minutes before the start of the game, both teams flew off the pitch for a prep talk. The bubble of excitement that had been in Harry’s stomach since he arrived expanded. He had listen to announcers talk about the way the Harpies played, but he was thrilled to be seeing it in person. They always expressed how amazing the connection between the Harpies chasers was. They seemed to have one mind when they played togethers.
“Hey, anyone sitting there?” A low voice asked, breaking Harry out of his thoughts. He turned to look a tall, freckled, red headed man. The man was pointing at the chair next to Harry. He was wearing a Harpies jersey with the name ‘Weasley’ on it.
“No, it’s all yours,” Harry said kindly. The man sat down, well more like fell into his chair unceremoniously. His gangly legs stretched out in front of him.
“I’ve never seen you before,” The redhead said conversationally. “You one of the girls boyfriends or something?”
“Yeah...uh I am,” Harry felt slightly awkward. He and Ginny had decided to keep their relationship a secret for a while. Because both of them were in the papers constantly, they figured the fact that they were dating would be front page news. They just wanted to have this little bit of privacy for a while. “What about you? Are you someone’s boyfriend?”
The man pulled a face that made him look he had smelt something horrible. “No. No way!” He said. “My sister is chaser Weasley. My name’s Ron by the way”
Harry could see the resemblance now. They both had the obvious red hair, but they had the same eye shape and similar looking chins. That bubble of excitement gained a friend as a feeling of nerves joined his stomach. This was not how Harry planned on meeting anyone in Ginny’s family, especially the brother Ginny called the most protective. Well those weren’t exactly the words she used; she called him the chasity patrol. Not something a boyfriend wants to deal with.
Ron stuck out his hand, “Nice to meet you mate.” Harry took the hand, which was also covered in freckles. Harry couldn’t help but wonder if all the Weasley’s were covered from head to toe in freckles.
“So Harry who are –” Harry was saved from Ron’s eventual question by the sound of cannon fire, as the Harpies flew on to the pitch. He watched as the multiple green figures came onto the field as a blur. The only reason Harry could dissect which one was Ginny, was because of her red hair giving her a look that reminded him of Christmas going one hundred kilometers per hour
Ginny flew around the stadium waving at the crowd. She made her way towards the family box, slowing slightly so she could look around better. Her eyes met Harry’s as she approached, waiting for the other team to make their entrance. The brown eyes lost connection with his as she took a quick glance at the person next to him. Harry watched as a wicked grin spread across her face. Her eyes glinted with suppressed humor. She looked back towards him, Green meeting brown again, and gave him a wink then flew off to the center of the pitch.
“So Ron, what do you do?” Harry hurriedly asked, hoping that Ron missed the saucy wink his sister just sent his way.
Apparently he did miss it, or didn’t seem bothered by it, because he replied enthusiastically, “I help my brother run a joke shop. Ever hear of Weasley Wizard Wheezes?”
“Yeah, I’ve heard you guys are great. What’s it like running that kind of shop?” Harry responded, as the snitch was released setting off both teams. Ron started explaining all about his job, pausing to cheer when Ginny scored or the referee made a bad call. He told Harry about creating the jokes to dealing with kids thinking they could knick product. Harry, for his part, kept his eyes on the game but found Ron entertaining.
“So then the kids father allowed us to test a new skiving snack box on him. The kid swore never to steal again.” Ron finished his story with a laugh. “So Harry what do you do?”
Harry gave his companion a sideways glance, “I’m an auror.” This was the moment most people made the connection that he was Harry Potter, because how many young, aurors, named Harry were out there?
Ron however didn’t seem to connect the dots, or didn’t care. Harry couldn’t decide if he was the most oblivious man or the most easy going guy ever.
“That pretty cool. I thought about becoming one, but then my brother… well my brother George asked me to help out at the shop.” Harry figured the topic of Fred was hard on Ron, just like it was on Ginny.
Their conversation lulled for a moment as the Harpies chaser, Elizabeth Mason, took a penalty shot.
“So, you said you were Ginny’s brother? Harry inquired, “What's it like to have a quidditch star for a sister?”
Ron laughed, “I didn’t know you were on a first name base with my sister.” Harry felt a twinge of fear, but Ron just continued on, “It’s great. Free tickets to her games, I still say she should have gone to the Cannons.”
Ron turned to face him, “So are you a Harpies fan before you started dating your girlfriend? Wait you never told me who your dating. Is it Mason?”
“Oh I always been a Puddlemere United man myself. My godfather got me into them.” Harry hastily confessed. “Never seen the Cannon’s play before. What are they like?”
Ron’s eyes lit up like the streets of London at Christmas. He started talking about his favorite players and how they had been robbed wins due to bad calls. He continued tell Harry all about the Cannon’s till the end of the game. The Harpies chasers were unstoppable, making it so when the Bat’s seeker caught the snitch, Holyhead was up by two hundred.
Harry and Ron cheered when the final score was read out to the crowd, 460 to 390. Ron shook Harry’s hand once more, saying they should get together for a pint. Harry agreed and told the redhead to send him an owl with a time and place. Ron headed towards the exit, while Harry headed for the third floor men's room, where Ginny told him to meet her.
He waited semi-awkwardly against the wall as people left the stadium, everyone in green cheering and chatting excitedly. Only a few people seemed to notice him as he sulked in the corner, but most just went right by him. Eventually the passage was cleared of any fans letting Harry wait for Ginny with only the sounds of “end of game” music to comfort him.
In the end he only had to wait for fifteen minutes, about ten less than Ginny had warned him. She made her way to him from across the passage, moving quickly. He couldn’t contain his smile when he saw her.
She reached him and gave him a smug smirk “So Mr. Potter,” She ran a hand through her damp hair, “What do you think of us Harpies? Were we impressive?”
Harry gave her a quick kiss, “Well I only had eyes for one, but from what I saw… Not to shabby.”
Ginny laughed, wrapping her arms around his neck, “High praise from you.”
He placed his hands on her hips, “The highest.”
Ginny pressed another quick peck to his lips, “Care to come out and celebrate with me? It will be a party of two.”
Harry nodded, letting her take his hand to lead him towards the exit.
As they walked Ginny asked, “So did you know you were talking to my brother all game?”
Harry gave her a sheepish grin, “Yeah I kinda figured it out.”
“And,” Ginny turned around and walked backwards, giving him a mischievous smile, “Did you tell him we are dating?”
Harry ran his free hand through his hair, “Err…”
Ginny laughed and moved back to his side, removing her hand from his, she placed her arm around his waist, his automatically going around her shoulders. “Knowing Ron he never even considered the thought you were there for me. I bet he thought you were there for Nicola.”
That made Ginny laugh harder, “Just because he wants to get with Elizabeth, he thinks everyone wants to get with her.” She gave him a coy smile, “Do you want to go celebrate with Lizzy? I won’t stand in the way. Team moral and all.”
Harry snorted and pulled her closer to him, “Sorry. I think I’m going to stick with my current Harpie.”
“Well you do have a top of the line model,” Ginny assured him, as they reached the apparition point. Harry moved to take her hand, so he could apparate them away, but she held them back, by wrapping her arms around his neck again.
“Here's the real question for you, Potter,” She murmured into his ear as she stood on the tips of toes, “You like me better than my brother, right.”
Harry pressed a soft kiss to her neck, “Trust me,” He said his voice husky, “I would never be doing this to Ron.” He paused and moved his mouth to hover over hers. “Now I haven’t seen the rest of your brothers, so who knows about them.”
Ginny’s mouth turn up in a coquettish smirk, “Well now, I’ll just have to make sure that doesn’t happen, won’t I.”
Harry entered the aurors office on the second floor of the Ministry, two days after Ginny’s game. He had the last two days off in a row, and he had taken full advantage of it. He had taken Ginny out to a muggle play on Saturday, and the two of them had a lazy Sunday together.
Before he could reach his small cubical the voice of his boss, Gawain Robards rang across the room, “Potter.” That was it. Just his name, but Harry knew he was being called to the heads office for some assignment. The last time that scene had occurred, he was sent on a mission to catch Gilbert Goyle, one of the few remaining death eaters.
He detoured from his small desk and headed into the head auror’s office. Entering the large office, the wanted posters hanging on the wall caught his attention, as they always did. Men and women who stared out of their frames. Angry and bitter faces leered at him.
Robards was standing to the side of his desk, looking down at a piece of paper. Harry cleared his throat to gain attention. Robard’s gave a small jump, but started his speech immediately, “Potter. I have a case for you. I want you to take lead. Finnegan will be your second. I want the two of you to come up with a team of six.”
Harry nodded his understanding. Robard’s continued, “Ok, all the information we have is in this file.” He pointed to the file on the left side of his desk. Even from the ten feet away, Harry could tell the file was very small. Meaning there was not a lot to go on.
‘The feeling of going in blind,’ Harry thought as Robard’s pressed on.
“You have two days to prepare your team. Should be plenty of time between you and Finnegan. Any questions?”
Harry shook his head. He headed over to the desk and scooped up the inadequate folder. It was even more pathetic in touch. It might as well have been empty. With just one piece of parchment noticeable. Robard’s dismissed him and Harry went back to his desk. He made a quick stop at the office coffee pot and grabbed a mug.
Sitting down in his stiff backed chair Harry took out the incompetent file. Only the basic facts were noted in the file. Two children, ages 5 and 8, were kidnapped in Ireland. One disappeared two weeks from Dunloe, and the other a week ago from Kenmare. Until twenty four hours ago this was a muggle case. Information about the children had made the Magical Law take notice. The parents said their children had some “odd tendencies”. When investigated further it was discovered the children were magical.
That was it. No possible suspects. No locations to start other than all of Ireland. The muggle police seemed to have no leads. Making it so Harry had nothing to start with.
Harry swore under his breath. This wasn’t going to be a quick easy case. The only connection was the fact that the kids were magical, but thought they were muggles. He could make a lot of assumptions, but nothing had concrete facts.
Seamus came over to his Harry’s desk, whistling a tuneless melody, “What’s happenin’ Chum?” He picked up Harry’s coffee mug and took a swig.
Harry sent a glare to his partner, but Seamus just smiled. “We have a new case. Were heading to your homeland.”
Seamus thumped Harry on the back, “Ah the good o’ land of green! What’s the case look like?”
Harry handed Seamus the parchment. It took him all of a minute to read through. He looked up at Harry then back to the file, “Where's the rest of it?”
Harry shrugged, “That’s all of it, mate.”
“Well that’s a load of shite!”
“We have two days to prep. Who do you want on the team? We can get four people.”
Seamus studied the parchment again, “Well Dave is good with kids. Leo is a good shot, so him. What about Garrison and Hyde?”
Harry wrote the names down on the corner of a scrap piece of parchment. “That works by me.”
Seamus placed the file back onto the desk, “So little information… Does your head in, am I right?”
Harry laughed and stood up, “I’ll tell Robard’s who we want on the team. When I finish do you want to meet me in the training room?”
“Sounds like a date, Mate!”
“How dangerous is it?” Ginny asked Harry. They were having dinner at his flat, take out from fish and chips shop a nearby. Ginny had brought it with her after work. Harry had asked her to come over. He had sent and owl to her early in the morning. Ginny was more than happy to come, so she offered to bring dinner.
The day had dragged, between practice and the evening meeting, Ginny couldn’t have been more ready to just relax with Harry, just spend the evening in. When she had arrived he greeted her in his usual manner, what her roommates called “the puppy dog”. Ginny loved it. Having grown up with six brothers, having someone greet her the instance she walked in a room was nice. He gave her a welcome kiss and guided her to the kitchen table, where he had already set out all the fixings needed for a proper fish and chip. They had started with mindless chatter: ‘how was your day?’, ‘what stupid thing did Seamus do this time?’ those kind of things. Though it was basic and normal, Ginny loved it. She loved hearing about his day, hearing about the antics he and Seamus got up to during their down time at the office. In turn she loved telling him about what happened at practice, whether or not she thought the team was ready for the next game.
When the topic of whether or not Ginny thought Mary-Ann could handle the Arrows chasers finished; Harry told her he was going away on a mission for a while. He explained he didn’t know how long he was going to be gone, but he was planning on leaving tomorrow. He told her the basics, the things he was allowed to tell her. It was in Ireland and it was a missing persons case.
Ginny had nodded, but her veins felt as if they were chilled. In all the time they had been together, Harry had been on what he called ‘paperwork detail’. He had told her he wasn’t a huge fan of being stuck in the office, but the silver lining was he was able to see her often. Now he was going out into the field, where anything could happen. Which brought fear to Ginny’s heart, and led her to asking her question.
“To be honest with you, Gin,” Harry said as he reached across the table and took her hand. His touch brought small comfort to her. His eyes bore into hers as he continued, “I don’t know, but I have a great team going with me. And,” Harry let the word drag out, “ This is an assignment where I can actually send you owls.”
Ginny nodded again. She gave him a flirtatious smirk and wink combo “Alright, well as long as you remember me when you meet some veela out there, in the world.”
Harry laughed and got out of his chair. He reached her, pulling her out of her seat, wrapping her into a tight hug. “Trust me you’re unforgettable. I mean with such vivid hair…” Ginny lightly slapped his arm, but leaned in closer to him and placed her head on his chest. She could feel his heartbeat more than she heard it. Her mind was going through all the possible scenarios, all the potentially disastrous situations that could arise.
She tried to let her mind relax in his embrace. She couldn’t stop herself from being worried, but he was there tonight. She knew he would be fine tonight. She didn’t want to be like her mother with her worrying tendenics. Molly Weasley wanted to keep a tight eye on her family. Molly worried for some of the most simple things, but Ginny had never been like that. She worried about the heavy things, like going to war or going off on a dangerous mission.
Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, Ginny focused on the here and now. She pressed a kiss onto Harry’s collarbone, “Well that means I need to give you a proper goodbye, now don’t I?”
Harry placed a kiss to the top of her head, “Actually I wanted to give you something.” He pulled away from her and went over to the corner of the kitchen counter. He grabbed a small, rectangle, flat laminated piece of parchment. Maybe the size of his hand. Harry pointed his wand at it, decreasing the size and changing the shape to circular.
He came back over to her, the now shrunk item sitting in the palm of his hand.
“Do you remember the guy who took our picture around Christmas?” Harry questioned. When she nodded he pressed on, “Well it finally arrived and I thought…”
Blush was creeping onto his cheeks as he continued, “I thought it would be perfect for your locket…. You know the empty side?”
Ginny couldn’t believe he had thought about that. It had been months since she had shown him the quaffle locket that always hung around her neck. The simple fact that he had remembered something that meant so much to her… She swore her skin was tingling.
He finally reached her and she could see the photo. Her old friend from Hogwarts, Colin Creevey, loved taking photos. It was just like what he use to take, except for the adjustments Harry had made. They stood stationary, only having eyes for each other. Even in photographic form, it seemed like the rest of the world didn’t matter to the couple. It was just them two.
She tore her gaze from the photo to look at Harry. His emerald eyes looked slightly hesitant, like he was afraid she wouldn’t like his gift. She plucked the image from his hand. She opened up the locket, the photo of her family grinned up at her. Placing the photo in the vacant slot, it slid in easily, the perfect size.. It held her attention. The space had been clear for so long, nothing had ever felt right to go there. She had considered placing a photo of just Fred there, but because he was in the other photograph she decided against it. But the picture of her and Harry… It just fit perfectly.
Harry wore a elated grin as he watched her accept his gift. “I thought it would be nice, so it would be like… like I’m always right next to your heart.”
Ginny looked up from the photograph at his words,. Trying to keep her voice light she said, “If only The Prophet knew you were so romantic. They would ask you to write their love column.”
Harry gave a timid laugh, “Oh I’ve never been very romantic.”
Ginny snorted and wrapped her arms around his neck, “Harry… This was an extremely romantic thing to do.” She moved her lips right under his ear, pressing a light kiss behind his earlobe, a spot she had found he liked.
Slowly she moved the length of his ear and whispered alluringly, “Where did you learn to be so amorous, Mr. Potter?”
His voice sounded dry and husky when he responded, “It’s not something you can be taught. You just have to be in love to do it right.”
Ginny felt like she had just been struck by lightning at his words. She pulled back slightly so she could look into his eyes. They held hers, blazing with affection, emotion, fondness, and tenderness.
She pressed her lips to his, slowly almost tantalisingly. He mimicked her, letting her set the pace. She gently ran her tongue against his bottom lip, deepening the kiss causing him to moan. She had kissed Harry numerous times in their time together, but this time she could have sworn all he was feeling for her ran from his body and into hers.
Harry slightly turned her so her back was to the kitchen counters, as he backed her to the surface. His arms moved from her back and hair, to the base of her shirt, where he started to lift the it from the hem.
She pulled back ever so slightly, moving her lips back to his ear so she could murmur, “We are definitely doing it right.” He gave a throaty chuckle as she kissed down the side of his neck. She turned and moved to his jaw, then back to lips.
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Chapter 4: Chance Case
Author's Notes: I want to thank Arnel for helping me edit this chapter. With the amazing edits of Arnel, I think this is the best looking and flowing chapter yet. There is a final author note at the bottom, to prevent spoilers for this chapter.
Harry let the hot water run down his body, trying to let it sooth his sore and tense muscles. They had been searching for three weeks. For three weeks they had been asking questions to the locals, trying to find any information about the missing children, but there had been nothing more than what he started with. No one had seemed to notice a child being taken away. There was nothing, until the mother finally noticed her child was missing.
How could a mother just forget their child was with them? He had interview both mothers. Both times they said almost the same thing. They were talking with a friend in a public location. Then, they thought of something they wanted to tell their child and… poof. Their child wasn’t anywhere to be found.
He placed his hands against the wall of the shower. It was infuriating to have nothing new after three weeks. In most cases he would have had something by now, at least a little new piece of information. However, in the last three weeks there was nothing. No new kids missing. No leads to where the children were taken. No hints at who was doing it all.
Seamus had led the way around the local areas. The thought was going on the basic profile of a kidnapper; start semi-local. The first kidnapping is the most nerve-racking and being close to a comfort zone helped the criminal mentally. Having spent multiple days just exploring the, what would typically be lovely, country of Ireland had led to nothing. It was clear this wasn’t a sudden kidnapping. There had been a plan, a plan that Harry couldn’t figure out.
He twisted the knob of the shower to off. He could spend all day under the hot spray, trying to figure out the motives, but it wouldn’t do him any good. There was just too little to go on. Harry let out a deep sigh as he stepped out into the cold of the hotel bathroom. A blast of warm air from his wand dried him in seconds. Then, taking one of the hotel’s towels he wrapped it around his waist and headed into his small room.
Papers littered the bed, all the notes and theories he had thought of. That’s what most of this case had been, speculation! Not something Harry particularly liked. He was someone who wanted facts to lead a case. Something that would then drive his imagination to finding the correct answer. Seamus called his gut instinct “the crime solver”, but in right now… This case was not going to be solved by his gut.
“So, Ginny, how’s the team doing?” Bill asked from across the kitchen table. Ginny was at the Burrow for the monthly Sunday lunch. After the death of her brother, her mother wanted the family to stay close and feeding them was one way to make sure they came.
She swallowed the bite of potato she was chewing before answering. “We’re doing fine. Second in the league after the Wasps.”
Ron did not finish chewing before saying, “Oh yeah.” Ginny’s mother shook her head as bits of carrots went flying onto the table. Ron quickly swallowed, “Sorry, Mum. Anyways, when I was at your game the other week you guys were great!”
“Which game was that, Ron?” Ginny asked with an insincere smile. She knew which game he was talking about, of course. The only game Harry had attended, before being sent on his case three weeks ago.
“The Bats’, I think.” Ron cocked his head to the side, clearly picking at his brain. Then it was like a one of those Muggle light bulbs went off over his head. “Hey, Ginny. Do you know who on the team is dating a guy name Harry? I met him at the game and want to see if he wanted to get a pint next weekend, but he didn’t respond to my owl.”
George looked over from his conversation with his girlfriend Angelina. “Oh, Ron, are you trying to steal one of the girls’ boyfriends? You know how territorial those Harpies are, maybe you should try to pick up someone more available.”
Ginny snorted onto her plate. ‘Oh, if only he knew,’ she thought. Then an idea struck her, why not let them into the loop? When would be a better time than after George accused Ron of stealing her boyfriend?
She smiled up at Ron as he made an indignant sound. “I’m not trying to pick him up,” Ron said, annoyed. “He was just an alright bloke. He was an Auror, so I bet he has some wicked stories.”
Ginny nodded her head, effectively drawing attention back to her. George and Ron looked at her expectantly. “Maybe,” Ginny mused. “Do you remember what he looked like?”
Ron made a face, as George snickered. “Yeah, Ronnie, what does your new boyfriend look like?” he asked his voice dripping with mirth.
Ron made a rude gesture towards his brother, while his mother was distracted, then turned his head back towards his sister. Clearly, he knew better than to verbally respond to George. Angelina, on the other hand, slapped her boyfriend on the back of the head. “If your brother wants to gush about a boy he fancies, let him,” she told George in a serious tone. Then she looked towards the Weasley man in question with an all too innocent smile, “So, Ron, tell us about this man.”
George spluttered as he started laughing. Ginny had a hard time not joining her brother, but she really wanted to have her own fun with Ron, so she settled for a small smile. Ron, for his part, scowled.
“So, Ron,” Ginny made her voice sound light and tried to contain any hint of teasing, “what does he look like?”
Ron took a quick calming breath, then said, “He had black hair and glasses.” He paused. Clearly, he didn’t have a vivid image of Harry in his mind, like Ginny did. “Oh!” he exclaimed, snapping his fingers. “He had a weird look scar on his forehead.”
George dropped his fork onto his plate and threw his head back. When he spoke he sounded half exasperated and half amused, “Only Ron would find Harry Potter and not realize he was meeting Harry Potter.”
Ron looked dumbfounded. “Hold on,” He spoke slowly. “You think that it was Harry Potter?”
George tilted his head back, a grin plastered on his face. “I think so, mate. How many other blokes named Harry have a scar on their forehead? I bet the number is less than ten.” He paused, “You have high standards. Going after Harry Potter,” George started to shake his head. “Well, at least you set your goals high.”
Angelina covered her laughter with her hand. Ginny pressed her lips together hard to contain her own. Molly, who had been listening, hid her chuckle behind a cough.
“Yeah, you know what, Ron?” Ginny asked, once she was certain she wouldn’t bust out in giggles. “I think I know who your talking about. You want me to message her?”
Ron looked glad someone wasn’t taking the mickey out of him. He nodded. “Yeah, Gin. That would be great.”
Ginny nodded back. “I’ll do it right now.”
Ron looked slightly shocked. He waved his hand back in forth in protest, “No. No, you can do it later. It’s fine.”
“No, it won’t take more than a minute,” Ginny claimed.
She tilted her head to the left, facing her mother. When she spoke she used a slightly lower tone than normal, “Hey, Ginny?”
She made her voice normal again as she turned her gaze to the right, where George was sitting, “Yeah, Ginny?”
Back to the left. “Can you ask your boyfriend next time he is available? My brother wants to take him out on a date.” Ginny placed her hand over her heart. “You don’t mind, do you?”
Facing back to the right, she was able to see George’s gleeful expression as he figured out what was happening. “Oh sure! He is currently on a mission for the Aurors, but when he gets back I’ll certainly ask.” She scratched her chin as if she had a sudden thought. “Though it may be a couple of days after he gets back. I do want to spend some time with him.”
George’s head hit the table with a solid thunk as he started to shake with silent laughter. Ginny turned her attention back to Ron, whose mouth was agape. “His girlfriend will get back to you as soon as he’s back in town.”
Ron started to splutter, “Wh - Wai- You?” He finally was able to question.
Ginny gave a fake girlish laugh, and batted her hand in a no-big-deal gesture, “Yeah. I don’t blame you for want to take him out. He is very cute. I mean, don’t you just want to run your hand through his hair?”
Angelina covered her entire face with her hands. George could be heard taking deep breaths, trying to recover. Molly, who Ginny always thought gave the twins their sense of humor, said, “Ronnie, let Ginny have her shot first. If she decides she doesn’t want to be with him, you can have your turn.”
George let out an uncontrolled, loud guffaw. Ron turned an impressive shade of red. Ginny decided to take pity on her youngest brother. “If it makes you feel better, Ron, Harry did say he thought you were pretty swell, too.”
Ron let out a small snort and started to return to his natural color. George pulled his head off the table, his face as bright as Ron’s. His voice shook slightly as he asked, “So, Ginny, how did you meet the Boy Who Lived anyhow?”
Ginny grinned and started to explain the Ministry party that felt like such a long time ago.
Harry stood next to a large board covered in different photos. Places, people of interest, and victims went from corner to corner. Each category was marked with a single word: Location, Suspects, Motive, and Victims.There was also a large map of the entire country of Ireland. Harry rubbed his forehead; four kids taken in two months and two weeks. All gone without a trace. Parents confused. Possible witnesses with no feedback. Harry took a calming breath. He needed to keep his head clear of all emotion when presenting. Just facts.
After two months he would have thought they would have had more information. The team had gathered numerous entries for location and victims, but it was as if they had no clues for motives or suspects. Not a good sign after working on something for sixty days.
The team of six all loitered around the room, chatting as they waited for Harry to start the presentation. He cleared his throat making the room go silent instantly.
“Alright everyone, focus,” Harry said unnecessarily as everyone was already staring at him. “Let’s go over the profile.”
He gestured to the “victims” tab. “We have four missing children. All under the age of eleven. The youngest, age five and the oldest, age ten.” He quickly pointed at each child’s picture that the parents supplied in their interviews. “Our only connection between all these kids is the fact that they all are Muggleborn. None of their parents knew they were magical at the time of the kidnapping.”
Harry moved his hand over to the “location” category, “Every child was kidnapped from a different town. Dunloe, Kenmare, Limerick, and most recently, Galway. This is a lot of ground that has been covered in two months. That is a total of three hundred kilometers.”
Harry paused to let that number sink into the team’s heads before he continued, “If we keep the idea of basic psychology, a kidnapper started by their ‘safe zone’. This makes us believe that the perpetrator may be based in between the first two locations.” He pointed to Dunloe and Kenmare. “This makes our starting base slightly easier to find. However, the perp is spreading much further, making it hard for us to know if they are using the same base that they were when they started two months ago. This leaves us with two thoughts: Apparition or relocated base.”
Everyone in the room was solely focused on him as he moved to his next point. “Currently, we have no definite motive. With the only connection being Muggleborn children, we have to assume it has something to do with that. Anyone have any ideas on why Muggleborn children may be targets?”
The room was silent till Hyde spoke up, his voice cautious, “It sounds kinda like a Death Eater thing.” Multiple people sighed sadly. Hyde pressed on, “Kinda like the Muggleborn Registration Committee they had a couple of years ago.”
Harry nodded. He picked up a quill and a piece of parchment, on which he wrote ‘take out Muggleborns’. He lifted his head from his writing and ask, “Any other thoughts?” No one spoke up, they seemed to think Hyde had the right thought.
“Okay,” Harry took the spotlight again, “for now we stick with that idea. I was thinking along the same lines, Hyde.”
He pointed back to the board, at the word “suspects.” “As of right now we have no suspects. That is between Muggle police and our department. We need to figure out why no one sees these children leaving.”
Leo put his hand up in the air. “The people could be Stunned.”
Seamus shook his head. “No, I don’t think so. All these pick ups happen in public places. Tourist traps, landmarks.... That would be a lot of people to Stun.”
Dave spoke to the group, “What about a temporary forgetfulness spell? Make the mother or father forget they have the kid. The guy could convince to the kid to walk away from their parents. Then, simply Stun the kid and take them away.”
“But that still leaves the crowds at the public places,” Harry said. “Though that would explain why the parents weren’t keeping a close eye on their children.”
Hyde brought attention back to him, saying, “So what we're saying is that this guy is making everyone, in these large public areas, not notice him walk off with a child?”
Everyone looked at each other. Harry bit his lip. “That is exactly what we're saying, Hyde.”
Hyde blinked. Once, twice, then muttered, “Shit!”
“Wait!” Garrison spoke for the first time. “Why would a kid just go with a stranger? Aren’t Muggles taught not to speak with random people?”
The room fell deathly silent.
Ginny took the Floo back to her flat. Her teammates had asked her if she wanted to go out to a new club that had just appeared in London, but Ginny wasn’t in the mood. Practice had been long and all she wanted to do was take a long, warm bath. When she arrived in the kitchen she decided to make a sandwich first. She hadn't eaten in about four hours, which in Weasley terms was almost two days.
As she grabbed out her ingredients she noticed a stack of mail sitting on the counter. Forgetting her hunger momentary, she grabbed the letter on top of the pile. It was addressed to her in thin, semi-messy writing, writing that she had been seeing every week for the last three months. Harry’s writing.
Not a week went by since Harry left that she didn’t receive a letter from him. Sometimes it was just a quick hello with a little detail about the last few days. Other times they were long and heartfelt. She didn’t care if the message was long or short, she just loved the fact that he took time out of his day to think of her.
She quickly grabbed the letter and read,
I’ll start off with a simple hello and I miss you. I have been checking the papers to see how your season is going. Well done on the twelve goals against the Cannons the other day! I’m sure Ron was upset.
The case is still going on, which means I’m still limited on what I can say. We have many theories, but nothing that has proven to be correct yet. I only hope we can figure out what this guy is trying to do soon. Another child has been kidnapped. This time from Kilkenny. I personally think the perpetrator is heading towards Dublin next.
I miss you. I know I already said it, but I want to make sure you know. It’s our six month anniversary, so happy anniversary. Sure, we were only in the same country for half of those months, but still, well done us! When I get back we will go on a really nice date, so start coming up with ideas. Maybe we can go on one of those Muggle tours of London, since I know how interesting you find Muggle culture… That’s not really romantic, is it? See, I told you I wasn’t romantic.
I hope you don’t miss me too much… Well, miss me a little. But anytime you do miss me just take a look at that photograph. In there we are always together, something I wish was true now. As soon as I can I’ll be there by your side. Just wait for me to come home.
Ginny placed the letter down on the table. She hadn’t even thought about a six month anniversary. Sometimes it amazed her how attuned Harry was with their relationship. She had never met a man who actually thought about a six month anniversary without the girlfriend saying something first.
She chucked to herself as she thought about last week when it was George’s one year anniversary. He had completely forgotten. He now swore his arse would never be the same, after what Angelina did to him.
Opening the ‘clutter’ drawer of the kitchen, Ginny grabbed a piece of parchment and quill. She was going to write and tell Harry how much she actually missed him. She also intended to tell him where their date would be and the amount of clothing they weren’t going to need to dress in.
Harry pressed his hands over his eyes, engulfing him in blackness. He had thought he had started to understand. It had taken him five and a half months, but he thought he was finally in the kidnappers’ head. He thought he knew where the perpetrator was going to strike next, but no. He had been wrong, and now two more kids were missing.
One child went missing from Cork and, without any explanation, the other from Belfast. The kidnapper had seemed to be on such a set path, what had happened? What made him go backwards towards the start of all of this? And Belfast? Belfast was completely out of the projected areas.
There was light knock on the meeting room door, and light footfalls swiftly approached him.
“We got something!” Seamus’ thick accent penetrated through Harry’s thoughts. His eyes opened wide and he moved his hands. Seamus was staring at him with a wide grin and excited eyes, something that had been missing for a while.
“What?” Harry asked, his mind trying to catch up completely.
“We got something. A Squib witnessed something odd at Brú na Bóinne near Drogheda. Said a man cast a spell. The next day her child was reported missing on the news.”
Harry stood up from the chair he had been sitting in for the last half an hour, “Did they get a good view of the spellcaster?”
If it was possible, Seamus’ grin grew wider, “Yeah, mate! We got her with a sketch artist.” He pulled out a large piece of parchment and placed on the table in front of Harry. Leaning forward expectantly, Harry was stunned as he recognized the person.
“Is that?” He started to ask, but Seamus spoke fast and excited,
The image of Tobias Nott looked up at him. His sallow cheeks and dark hair shaded using a quill. The artist had taken colored ink and colored in the eyes, a dark shade of blue. Those eyes seemed to glare at Harry.
Tobias Nott was one of Voldemort’s supporters in the last war. Nott had been one of the few to escape capture after Voldemort had been stopped. There hadn’t been word of him in years, and now he had cropped up.
‘Okay, it would make sense with the motive we’ve come up with,’ Harry thought. ‘Nott was known for his dislike of Muggleborns. But how was he preventing everyone from noticing him with this child?’
“Did the Squib recognized the spell?” Harry asked.
Seamus shook his head, “It wasn’t something her Ma used to do, so no. But she said the guy walked around in a circle as he cast it.”
“A circle… That sounds like a Repelling Charm.”
“Maybe a Muggle-Repelling Charm? It wouldn’t affect a Squib or Muggleborn child.”
Harry nodded. That would make sense. It would explain why the parent was never right next to the child. And Nott could take the child away, then reappear and take off the charm.
“Did the witness get a reason why the child would go near the man or did he just grab the kid?”
Seamus looked around the empty room, as if looking for a eavesdropper. “That’s the real kicker, what made the Squib do a double take. He was wearing a Muggle police uniform.”
Harry felt shock and then a feeling of ice spread through his veins, “Because a child is taught to trust a policeman.”
Seamus nodded sadly. “That’s the general consensus.”
“Okay, so what we need to do is get a high quantity on watch for him. Keep it within the Auror department. Do we think we can trust the Muggle police department?”
Seamus shrugged, but nodded after. “I think we gotta. We need the numbers.”
Harry rubbed the back of his neck, “Alright, but we need a fast way to contact someone in case he is located.” He paused in thought. “Let’s use a simple Muggle coin, place a Protean Charm on it. Make it grow hot if we touch it. Link it from partner to partner. We don’t want everyone Apparating into the same area. It will make Nott flee.”
“Sure thing. I can get a bunch set up. Are we giving them to the Muggles?”
Harry took a moment to think. “Yes… I think we better. Hook theirs with yours and mine only.”
“You got it.”
“Good. I’m going to set up patrols in public places that police wouldn’t be out of the normal. Parks, landmarks, busy shopping areas. We can eliminate the places he has already been, since he doesn’t seem to be going back to the same town twice.”
Seamus clapped Harry on the shoulder, “We’re gonna get this guy, mate!”
Harry smiled. Yeah, now they finally had something to really go on.
Harry divided team among suspected areas. Dave went to Sligo, Garrison to Londonderry, Leo to Waterford, Hyde to Castlebar, and finally he and Seamus divided Dublin. He also made sure the Muggle police had all the notes he had.
His gut feeling was telling him that Dublin was next. That’s why he put him and Seamus in the area. He took Phoenix Park, near the Dublin Zoo and he sent Seamus to Drimnagh Castle, two highly populated areas. Both had a lot of land to cover, but Harry couldn’t stop thinking that it was going to be in one of the two places.
Before heading out, Harry told the team to dress in Muggle clothing, something Nott wouldn’t be focused on. Most just wore a tee shirt and jeans, a common Muggle tourist outfit. Harry did as well.
No one gave him a sideways glance as he walked across the grass of Phoenix Park. He had been walking for over an hour, acting impressed by all the large buildings that were placed in the area. It wasn’t until he reached Papal Cross that Harry noticed anything odd.
For a popular tourist spot, no one seemed to be heading towards the structure itself. In fact, people seemed to get aggravated by the idea of heading to the architecture. They would turn around and head in the way they just came.
This was a good sign that Nott might be nearby, at least in Harry’s books, but he didn’t want to call his partner away from his post if it was false. He needed to get in closer and see the man before calling Seamus. Moving slowly, Harry entered what he thought would have been the repelling border. The large cross could be noticed from a great distance away, but it wasn’t until Harry could see the staircase up to the platform that he noticed two people standing there. One tall figure and one small, childlike figure.
With no Muggles around there was no risk of hurting a civilian if spells were cast, but Harry had to make sure Nott didn’t hurt the child. He concluded his best bet was to fire a Stunning Spell at Nott before he noticed him. He moved slowly, reaching for his wand in his pocket, when suddenly something was pressed into the small of his back.
A gruff voice whispered in his ear, the hot breath blowing into his ear canal, “Don’t move. Slowly remove your hand from your pocket.”
Trying to see who had him out of the corner of his eye, he could see a figure that blended in so well with the environment he would have almost been untraceable if Harry didn’t know where to look. He did what he was told, gradually moving his hand out of his pocket. The back of hand brushed metal.
‘The coin,’ Harry thought. He had to get word to Seamus. As he kept his hand moving he made his fingers separate from each other, he let the copper-plated- steel fall between his fingers. He caught the coin between his pointer and middle, sliding it into his palm. He closed his hand into a fist, activating the charm.
He and Seamus had set up five Apparition points in the park: the American Ambassadors residences, the visitor’s center, Papal Cross, Wellington Monument, and finally the zoo. Going in that order it shouldn’t take more than thirty seconds for Seamus to cast the Homenum Revelio spell and Apparate to the next point. So he needed to give his partner one minute and thirty seconds.
He dropped the coin back into the depths of his pocket, and removed his hand completely. Gently he moved his arms into a surrendered position.
“Now who are you? And how did you get through the charm?” the person holding Harry at wand point asked. He knew he could play this two ways: play dumb or fess up.
“I have no idea what your talking about,” Harry made himself sound scared and feeble.
The voice swore under its breath, but moved its face away from Harry’s ear. He kept his wand pointed directly at Harry, however.
“Don’t move a muscle,” the voice commanded as the wand slid across his back onto his side. The man’s footfalls copied his wand’s movements. Eventually, he was right in front of Harry. He was stringy with dark hair and wearing a Muggle police uniform, but what caught Harry’s attention were the similarities between this man and Tobias Nott. The same nose and chin, but differences such as eye shape and color. There would be no way the two couldn’t be related. If Harry had to guess, he would think this was Nott’s son.
The man in question was clearly nervous. Another assumption, but Harry figured this wizard was someone who liked to stay out of the action. He moved his wand right up to Harry’s forehead.
“Oh, shit,” the man muttered, as he brushed Harry’s hair aside, revealing his famous scar. “Just fucking great. Harry Potter is the one to find us.”
Harry wanted to chuckle, but decided to press his advantage without aggravating the man, “Well, you know my name. Want to tell me yours?”
The wand holder looked at Harry like he had six heads and a unicorn horn. “Why would I do that!?”
Harry gave the man a light-hearted chuckle, “Because it’s polite, of course.”
The man shook his head, clearly thinking Harry was crazy. Then he started muttering under his breath, trying to encourage himself. “Okay, all I need to do is Obliviate him. Can’t be that hard, can it?”
Out of the corner of Harry’s eye he saw movement. Seamus was standing slightly behind a tree to their right. He had a clear view of the scene: the distant view of Nott with the child and Harry stuck at wand point.
Harry hoped Seamus would take out Nott with the child. But Seamus was watching him. Harry needed to send him a sign. He needed to use the safe word he and Seamus had come up with during their training years. If that word was used, then the other would have to ignore their partner.
“No,” Harry spoke loudly. “It’s not an easy spell. But it is easier than brewing Amortentia.”
Harry saw Seamus flinch at the potion’s name. He knew he was being told no himself. He watched as Seamus pulled out his wand and tapped himself roughly on the head, effectively blending in with the surroundings. Harry was still able to see Nott in the distance, the child chatting animatedly to him. Harry’s captor wouldn’t be able to see anything Seamus did, as Harry hoped his partner was moving closer to get the kid.
“I would rather make Amortentia,” muttered the man in front of Harry. “Potions are much better than wand waving and whatnot.”
Harry allowed a little chuckle, keeping his voice calm. “You’re one of the few, mate.”
Harry kept his eyes trained on the scene in the distance. The moment Seamus took out Nott, Harry would take out his captor. Then, like it was slow motion he watched as Nott fell backwards giving Harry his queue. He launched himself forward, forcefully knocking the man to the ground.
The man tried to struggle away and tried to cast a curse at Harry, but missed him by a few inches as they both went to the grass. Harry used his left hand to knock the wand out of the man’s hand, but it seemed the survival instinct of the wand holder kicked in as he used his knee to knock the wind out of Harry. He then rolled Harry off of him as the Auror tried to catch his breath.
Harry was still on the ground, wand pointed at him again, as the man stood back to full height.
“That… wasn’t… smart,” panted the man. He then lifted his boot and stomped on Harry’s face. He felt the crack of his nose and hot liquid poured out over his face. The man opened his mouth to cast a spell, maybe to actually Obliviate him, but instead he fell sideways, frozen.
Seamus came up to him, his Disillusionment Charm gone. “You look like a right mess,” he said to Harry, but keeping his attention on Harry’s assailant.
Harry groaned, “Yeah, well, it wouldn’t be right if I came out scott free.”
“Too right, mate!”
Harry sat up and looked around to make sure everything was secure. “Where are the kid and Nott?”
Seamus gestured behind him with his thumb, “Body Binded Nott and tied him to a tree. The kid is still chatting his ear off, though now Nott doesn’t look to happy with it. And this here,” Seamus give the man near Harry a little kick with his boot, “is Theodore Nott. I knew him in school. He was always a git, but not someone who liked to fight man to man.”
Harry grabbed his wand from his pocket and casted a hasty Episkey at his nose. The blood flow stopped and his nose twisted back to its normal position. Gingerly, he rubbed his nose as he said, “Yeah, I got that vibe from this guy. Didn’t really want to fight.”
“I’ll take this kid back to his Ma,” Seamus turned his attention back to where the older Nott and the child were still positioned. “I sent a Patronus to Leo to meet us here. He can give you a hand getting these two back headquarters.”
Seamus glanced back over his shoulder, “Eh, it was nothing.”
Harry snorted, “So modest.”
Seamus let out a hearty laugh and made his way over to the kid. Harry stood up and pulled out his wand, waiting for Leo to arrive.
AN: The idea of having a child being kidnapped by someone wearing a police uniform came from the game Heavy Rain.
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Chapter 5: Chance Closure
Author's Notes: A huge thank you goes to my beta Arnel, for giving me great advice and making this chapter legible. Only an epilogue after this!
Harry watched as Seamus banged his fist against the table of the interrogation room. His partner had been trying, unsuccessfully, to get Tobias Nott to lead them to the missing children. Nott had remained closed mouth for the last hour and a half. Seamus had tried all his normal tricks: friendly Irish Seamus, sympathetic Irish Seamus, and, Harry's personal favorite, angry Irish Seamus.
Nott faced the Auror with a deadpanned expression, letting nothing Seamus did affect him. However, Harry noticed a glint in the older man's eyes. It was a spark of, what he labeled, as triumph. Even though he had been caught, Nott was clearly proud the Aurors didn't know everything.
"He is a tough nut to crack, Potter," Seamus claimed as he walked into the observation room. "He doesn't want to give it away."
Harry let out a deep sigh. They had been holding the Nott duo for almost twenty-four hours, and they were no closer to finding the kidnapped children. Both Tobias and Theodore had given away nothing. If Harry had it his way he would give both men Veritaserum, and forcefully receive the answers he needed. Ever since the end of the war, Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt had banned the use of the potion without special permission. Harry would happily request permission, but the forms took days to document, and the children may not have days."Okay," Harry said pressing his fingers over his eyes for some short bliss. "I'm going to try to talk to Theodore again. He seems more sympathetic than his father."
Seamus nodded. "Just tell me when I can give this guy a good wallop."
Harry released a tense snort, but left the room. The building where they were holding the Notts was small, only having a total of six rooms. Two interrogation rooms, two observation rooms, a meeting room for the Aurors, and a public toilet.
The two interrogation rooms were adjoining making it a quick walk from Tobias' room to Theodore's. Upon entering the second room, Harry could feel the difference in atmosphere. Where Tobias was proud and cocky, his son was nervous and frightened. It was a wonder to Harry how Theodore hadn't betrayed the whereabouts of the children.
Theodore sat at a small table in the middle of the room. His leg bounced as his eyes watched Harry enter the room.
"Hello again, Theo," Harry said pleasantly as he took the chair across from the Nott. "Any chance you want to talk?"
Nott shook his head quickly, his hair flapping slightly from the fast motion. Harry placed his elbow on the table and rested his head on his fist, keeping his eyes on Nott. Harry needed to get something out of this man. Clearly his father wasn't going to give anything away. Theodore was the one who would be the most help, Harry could sense it. His "crime solving gut" told him.
Nott was cleaver, there was no doubt. Just talking to him while he held Harry at wand point had proven that, but it also showed he wasn't a fighter. He was someone who would want to sit back and deal with the backroom appointments. Out of the public eye, all his secrets kept to himself.
A sudden thought struck Harry making him raise his head from its resting position.
"So, Theo," Harry started off conversationally. "You mentioned you would prefer making Amortentia to wand waving, right?"
Nott looked startled, but nodded his agreement.
Harry let out a melodramatic sigh. "I was never very good at potions myself. What was your favorite to brew?"
The skepticism in Nott's features were obvious but he said slowly, "I like Skele-Gro. It's a good challenge, but it's dead useful."
"Skele-Gro, huh. I've never made it myself, but I've used it a few times. Very useful." Harry gave his companion a cheerful smile. "You know what other potion I find handy?" Nott shook his head. "Veritaserum." The little color Nott had in his face left, making him look ghostly.
Harry continued as if he hadn't noticed anything. "Have you ever made it?" Nott gave a brief head jerk. "Ah, so you must know what it does." Harry paused to let the man's mind wonder. "Do you have any secrets you don't want me to know about, Theo?"
It was almost as if physical wheels were turning in Nott's head. Harry could see the fear in his eyes, as he thought of the possibilities.
"If you let me know the kids are, Theo, it will be much better." Harry let out another sigh. "I can make things better for you if you tell me."
Nott squeezed his eyes tightly shut, clearly trying to block out the situation. In a quiet voice he asked, "What about my father?"
"Your father has more than this incident on his rap sheet. You on the other hand…" Harry let his voice wonder off while gazing at Theo expectantly. His patience was rewarded.
Nott started nodding his head, slowly but steadily. Harry waited. If this hadn't worked, he was at a loss at what to do. Finally, after multiple painstaking minutes, Nott admitted in barely over a whisper, "Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park. The hidden door is behind the falls. Just follow the walking path to the main viewing point, walk into the fall itself and say 'No Mudbloods'."
Harry quickly wrote down the instructions. He made a quick signal for Dave to come from behind the invisible viewing room. He handed the paper to his fellow Auror with orders to take Seamus and Leo to the hideout. He told Dave that he would join him at the site, after a call to Robards Dave moved quickly out of the room.
"What happens now?" Nott's voice was gruff, almost as if he had swallowed sandpaper.
Harry glanced at the man. "Well, you're going to get a reduced sentence, but you will still be going Azkaban for a while." Harry paused to collect his own thoughts. "Why?" He couldn't stop himself from asking. "Why did you do it. You're a smart guy. Why did you go along with your father's ideals?"
Nott turned bloodshot eyes on him. "Wouldn't you? If it was your father?"
Harry thought about that for a moment. "The man who raised me never would have put me in that situation. He never would have risked putting me into Azkaban."
Nott glared at him, but his voice faltered slightly, "You say that, but can you be so sure without being put in the same situation?"
Without hesitation, Harry nodded. "Yes."
Overall, the children had been kept in good condition. They were well fed, clean, and kept warm. They were just confused. Their living quarters were dank but they had an Imperiused Muggle man keeping watch over them. The Muggle had been tasked with caring and teaching the children.
The Muggle, whose name was Edward, had been told to teach the children regular classes. Maths, English, Geography, lessons that would be in a normal Muggle school. Nott had wanted the children to ignore their magical aspects. Harry was pleasantly surprised with this. He had expected the children to be in much worse condition.
Harry had Dave take the children to the Irish branch of St. Mungos in Dublin. Then he and the rest of the team went to inform the families. Parents were overjoyed to know that their children were safe. Harry personally escorted the distraught mother from Galway to see her son in Dublin.
Finally, after midnight, the day after the capture of the Notts, Harry returned to the Auror department in London. He was tired, sore, and slightly homesick. If someone had asked him a year ago if he enjoyed long missions that took him out of England, he would have said yes. Now, however, he didn't feel the same.
Before it had been great. He was free to see new places and help people in need. Hermione always claimed he had a "saving people thing", which he had always proven by taking on the missions. When he would return he would be tired and sore, but never homesick. Since Sirius' death, England hadn't held enough for him, but something was different this return trip. He smiled as he thought about the change… Ginny.
She had become so important to him before he left, and now his heart felt a clenching sensation at the mere thought of her. He missed her more than he wanted to admit. While away, in the small time between lying in bed and falling asleep, he would think of her. He would think of the way she held him in her arms, the way her lips felt on his, and he would relive some of their moments together. The kiss on her front step after their first date, was a common set piece.
As if on auto-pilot Harry made his way to his desk. Due to the late hour, Harry hadn't expected to see anyone, but Robards' office light was on. Harry sat in his stiff-back chair for the first time in six months. Merlin, how he missed his chair.
Harry felt as if lightning had coursed through him. Never before had he missed this bloody chair! His mind felt as if it was spinning. Why would he have missed this uncomfortable chair? Never in his two years of being an Auror had he liked being stuck at his desk, except… the three months before this last mission. Being in this chair had meant he could be with Ginny.
That red-headed, freckled, incredible Harpy had made Harry enjoy his awful desk chair. Now the question was, what should he do with this fact?
Harry always considered himself a rash man. He was a dive-in-feet-first, kind of guy. Now, at a quarter to one in the morning, he made a decision. He stood from his desk and walked over to Robards' office.
He knocked on the frame, making the man inside jump. "Potter!" Robards exclaimed his eyes wide. "I didn't know you were coming in tonight. What can I do for you?"
Harry walked to the front of the desk before speaking, "Sir, I would like more desk time."
His boss' eye brows rose high onto his brow. "Really? I never thought you liked desk time."
"I didn't before, but now…" Harry's voice trailed into nonexistence.
Robards gave a little snort. "Merlin, I know that tone. It's a girl, isn't it?" he asked rhetorically. Heaving a sigh, he continued. "Well, Potter, I'm not gonna lie, I'll miss you in the field."
"Yes, sir." Harry had no idea what else to say.
"But," Robards' gave him a sly smile, "I do need a new trainer for new recruits. My current one just retired last week." He gave Harry a quick glance. "Would you be interested?"
Harry nodded quickly. That would be perfect. No more half-year missions out in who knows where. Regular office hours, unless special circumstances were to arise. Just what he was looking for.
Robards' clapped his hands together. "Great! I'll start the paperwork Monday. Now I'm going home and taking the weekend off. You should do the same." He gave Harry a little wink. "Maybe visit that lady friend we talked about."
Blush crept on Harry's face, making Robards' laugh.
Ginny loved the sound of rain pouring onto her roof. The repetitive patter soothed her. She enjoyed the wind that could accompany a storm Now at one in the morning the rain sounded its best, while the fireplace crackled and she had a warm cup of tea.
She had been going over the Harpies' new playbook. Gwenog had added three new plays she wanted to test in their next practice. A couple of rushing techniques and one long pass system.
Ginny placed the book beside her on the couch, and stretched. She felt a cool breeze on her abdomen as her shirt rode slightly higher on her body. She rolled her shoulders to release the tightness she hadn't realized had been there.
Lately, she had been constantly tense. At first, she just thought it was because playoffs were on the horizon. Ever since Harry's last letter, however, she concluded it was more. It was him. Over the course of six months they written every week, but sometimes letters just weren't enough. They had been together for nine months, but only in person for three of them.
It didn't bode well with Ginny. She understood why he was gone and she accepted that his job was busy, so was hers, but six months without physical contact. She wasn't sure she liked that. There was no doubt in her mind that she cared for Harry, but it was almost as if their relationship was long distance. Ginny never liked the idea of long distance. Things could get jumbled in translation. As much as she liked Harry, she couldn't help but question, could she handle the separation?
She put her hand on her locket. Her favorite present any of her brothers ever gave her. It was the perfect gift for her. She opened the small case, and smiled at the picture of her family. They grinned back and waved. Even though the photo was shrunk, Ginny still felt as if it filled the room. It was almost as if her mother was giving her one of her warm embraces every time she looked at the photograph.
Her eyes drifted to the opposing side. The image of her and Harry still brought butterflies to her stomach. The way he looked at her. The way she looked at him. Could she give that up? Should she give it up just because they were apart?
When she was with him it filled her with happiness. It was like she was drowning in joy when she was wrapped in his arms. It just felt so right with Harry, almost as if she was meant to be held by him. Could they work if they were apart for half a year, every year? Ginny's mind drifted to an old saying she had heard a few times: "If you love something set it free. If it comes back it's yours. If not, it was never meant to be." Ginny never really believed in fate, but he felt so worth it. She could make it work, if he came back to her.
A loud knock pulled Ginny out of her pensive thoughts. She glanced at the clock hanging on the wall, fifteen past one in the morning. Who the bloody hell called at someone's house at this hour?
Ginny hurried over to the door. Before she opened the separation between her and the visitor she peeked out of the window next to the door. The caller was tall with dark hair, male. She moved her gaze to his face. She recognized the glint of glasses.
She pulled open the door to reveal Harry Potter standing on her door step, soaking wet from the downpour. "Harry?" Ginny whispered surprised. She had assumed he would have sent her an owl her to tell her he had returned. Never had it crossed her mind that he would arrive at her house after midnight, sopping wet.
He was grinning at her. His eyes were shining with, what she placed as, happiness. "Ginny," his voice was low, "you look incredible."
Ginny looked down at herself. She was wearing an old pair of running shorts and faded tee. Not what she would have envisioned herself wearing when he returned. Not something she would call nice, much less incredible.
"When did you get back?" Her voice was soft but ardent.
Harry looked down at a gold watch on his wrist. "About forty-five minutes ago."
All Ginny could do was stare. 'Wish and it shall appear,' Ginny thought sarcastically. She looked him over. He looked just as good as he had six months ago. His hair was slightly longer, and a beard had appeared along his jawline, but it was still him. Still Harry. Those gorgeous jewel-like eyes boring into her.
Ginny had no idea who made the first move, but suddenly they were linked together. Holding each other in a tight embrace. Her arms around his neck, his around her waist. The way he was holding her was so good, it should have been illegal.
She rested her head on his chest, listening to the steady thump of his heart. "What happened? In your last letter you said things were," She paused trying to remember the word he used. "Murky."
Harry leaned his cheek on the top of her head. "We got a lead about thirty-six hours ago. The last twenty-four was spent trying to get one of the perpetrators to talk." Keeping them pressed to each other, Harry led them to the couch. He sat them down, Ginny practically in his lap. Not that she minded in the slightest.
They remained quiet, locked in their embrace, just relishing the closeness. Touch and smell were the only senses they needed, right now. The feel of his arms and his heart pounding, in tune with her own. His wood-like musk filled her lungs with every breath.
Only three noises could be heard throughout building: rain tapping the roof, the clock ticking over the fireplace, and their breathing. Harry was the first to break their trance-like state. His voice was soft and thoughtful, "We're in love, aren't we." It wasn't a question. He had concluded this. Ginny couldn't argue it either. It was a fact in her mind.
She leaned up and kissed his lips softly, trying to convey her emotions. He tugged her flush to his body and held her. Her head was pressed into his neck where she placed a few more light kisses.
"I missed you," she finally said huskily. "I've decided I don't like you being gone for so long."
Harry gave a light chuckle. "They do say that absence makes the heart grow fonder." He pushed her back slightly from his chest, so he was looking directly in her eyes. "Gin, I fell more in love with you every day I was gone."
Ginny's voice quavered, "Same for me, but that doesn't mean I have to like you being gone. I could love you while you stand right next to me."
Harry smiled at her, a lopsided joyous grin. "Well, you may be forced to deal with that situation. Robards offered me a job training new recruits." He pressed a quick kiss to her cheek. "I took it. Which means, I'll be in England a lot more."
Ginny's heart felt as if it was floating. He wasn't going off on long cases. He was going to be in England, with her. She could feel her lips turn into a smile. "Does that mean you'll have time to see a certain red-head more?"
Harry moved his head so it was positioned on her neck. He put feather light kisses along the length. "I believe so, yeah."
"Great because my brother's been asking about you. He really wants to get that pint with the bloke he met at the Quidditch game a few months ago."
Harry's breath tickled her neck as he laughed through his nose. "That is not the red-head I was hoping to be with." Harry continued his ministrations up her jaw line to her ear. He then whispered, "Charlie sounds pretty nice."
She couldn't contain her laughter, as she put her thumb under his chin, pulling his face in front of hers. "That can be arranged, but for now," her tone was low and sultry, "will I do?"
"Yeah, I think we can make this work, Miss Weasley." Harry closed the already small gap between them.
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Chapter 6: Chance Ending
Author's Notes: First order of business is to thank the wonderful Arnel for being an amazing beta. Second, and final, is to say thank you to everyone that has enjoyed the story.
If someone had told Harry five years ago, that he would be celebrating his birthday with a family of red heads and their significant others, he wouldn’t have believed it. It was hard enough for him to believe that he had been married to the beautiful Ginny Weasley for three years, but the fact that her family treated him as one of their own was just icing on the cake. As it was, George claimed Harry was Molly’s favorite son. Whenever Molly heard this she would ruffle Harry’s already messy hair and say, “My favorite blacked-haired son.”
Currently, he sat with Ron and George each drinking a glass of Ogden's Old Firewhisky . They had just enjoyed a wonderful meal cooked by Molly. Now they were letting their stomachs settle before cake. They watched gnomes run on the far side of the fence, as the sun sank past the fields in the distance.
“So, has your birthday been good so far, mate?” Ron asked as he took a pull from his glass
Harry reflected on his morning. Ginny had woken him up in a most pleasurable way, then the two of them had spent the day together. They had gone to a lunch time Quidditch match, Appleby Arrows verse Caerphilly Catapults. The Arrows had won by a landslide, but Harry had just enjoyed his time with his wife.
“Yeah,” Harry concluded, “it has been nice just to spend the day with Ginny.”
George nodded his head wisely. “I can bet. She’s always busy with the Harpies now the playoffs are looming.”
Harry smiled with pride. His wife was a part of another playoff run. She had led the team in goals this season and had been offered a place on the English squad next month for the world cup. “Yes, she is. Has she told you about the English team?”
Ron and George’s eyes both grew wide. “No way!” they said together.
Nodding Harry said, “Yeah, but oddly she hasn’t given them an answer. She says she just needs to think about it. Personally, I don’t know what there is to think about.”
George shot a glance over his shoulder to where his wife and sister were talking. Angelina’s stomach was protruding out further than normal, due to her being five months pregnant. Since the announcement of his son, George had been rather sentimental. Harry understood why, since his twin had died seven years ago, he had felt out of place. Harry understood the feeling after losing Sirius in the same battle. About a year after Harry started dating Ginny, he, George, and Ron had gone out for a pint. George had brought up the topic of Fred, and had discovered Harry had been though a similar tragedy. They had really bonded since then. After George had married Angelina he had recovered more, but now he was having a son. George was overjoyed with his life.
“Well,” the shop proprietor said slowly, “wouldn’t she have to go away for three months? Don’t they make the players training have no outside contact.”
Harry nodded his agreeance. “She would, but I mean we’ve been apart for longer and we made that work.” It was a running joke with Ginny’s family that the first year of her dating him they had been apart for half of it. They like to say that they missed all the awkward fights that happen in the first year. To be fair, he and Ginny had those fights later in the relationship, both being passionate people, but it hadn’t mattered. They knew they wanted to be together so they worked through any issues that arose.
George shook his head. “I wouldn’t want to be apart from Angie for that long, no matter the circumstances. I wouldn’t think you would want to be apart from Ginny for that long?” His eyes bore into Harry’s.
“I don’t want to be apart from her, but this is such a great opportunity for her.”
Ron pointed the top of his bottle at Harry. “I get you mate. Hermione is the same way. She gets all these chances to do wicked things, but it means I’m left behind.” Ron had started dating Harry’s friend, Hermione, two years ago, when they had met at Harry and Ginny’s wedding. At first it seemed as if they hated each other. It had turned out it was all sexual tension.
Harry was about to ask how things were between him and his best female friend, when Molly yelled across the lawn, claiming it was time for cake, then presents. The three moved over towards the table set out on the grass and settled in chairs next to their significant others, who were waiting impatiently for them.
The large family sat eating cake and discussing pointless topics. Ron was on his third piece when Molly waved her wand, causing a large pile of presents to appear on the table in front of Harry. “This really wasn’t necessary,” Harry protested gesturing towards the gifts.
Molly waved off his concerns. “You’re family, Harry dear.”
Ginny flicked her husband’s bicep. “Yeah, you’re just going to have to toughen up and accept that everyone loves you here.”
No matter how many times the Weasleys said it, he was touched. After Sirius died, Harry never thought he would have a family who loved him. Sure, he always hoped he would find a woman and have a family with her, but this was more. He now had such a large heartwarming family.
“Thanks,” Harry said bashfully.
“Well,” Ron demanded through his mouthful of cake, “start opening them.”
Harry did as he was told. He received a large stack of defensive Dark Arts books from Bill and Fleur. Molly and Arthur gave him a recipe book, knowing how much he loved to cook for Ginny. Percy and his wife, Audrey, bought him a handsome black robe that would be perfect for work. George had filled his box with products from his “Dark Defenders” line from his shop. Ron and Hermione had given him one ticket to see Puddlemere United against the Chudley Cannons three weeks from then.
“I have the other ticket,” Ron claimed excitedly, cake bits flying.
George reached around his wife to give his brother a small slap in the arm. “Merlin, Ron. It’s been five years and you’re still trying to get a date with the bloke? He’s been married to our sister for three years now, don’t you think it’s time to move on.”
Everyone around the table gave an appreciative chuckle. Whenever Ron brought up the idea of going out anywhere with Harry, George was there to tease him. Now, even five years later, it was still one of George’s favorite things to take the mickey out of Ron for.
“Sounds great, mate,” Harry said appreciatively, effectively removing Ron’s scowl.
The rest of the night went off without a hitch. The group stayed in the garden till night had completely fallen. Then in pairs, they separated, going back to their homes. As George led Angelina to the fire to use the Floo, he suddenly turned to look at Harry and Ginny. “Hey, Gin?”
Ginny turned to look at his brother, keeping Harry’s arm around her shoulder. “What?”
“I just thought, I didn’t see your gift to Harry.”
Ginny shot her brother a wicked smile. “Oh, that. I figured I would give it to him at home.”
George took in his sister’s expression and laughed. “Oh, I’m sure you will,” he drawled.
Ron, who had been snagging a final piece of cake, flinched and dropped the cake back onto the counter. “Ew, George. I don’t wanna think about that.”
Both George and Ginny laughed at their brother’s distress. George gave a final wave and followed behind his wife into the Floo. Ginny and Harry went after, arriving in their sitting room. Harry always loved walking into this room. He and Ginny had made it cozy. The fireplace was surrounded by a large couch and squashy armchairs. Small tables stood in strategic places about the room, covered by books and scrap pieces of parchment.
Harry’s favorite part of the room, well, really the entire house, was the photographs that lined the back wall. They had set them in order of occurrence. On the far left was a copy of the photo from the Christmas market, where the Muggle photographer took their picture. Then, there was the first time Harry had met all the Weasleys. George had insisted on taking a picture with the famous Harry Potter as a joke, but then everyone wanted to be in the photo. Following that frame was the day Harry proposed to Ginny. He had taken her back to the same Christmas market where their first photograph had been taken. He had chosen the same spot where that image had been take. It had been the first place where he knew he was in love with her. He had asked a photographer to come and take a photo when he asked her. The last photo was of them on their wedding day. They were dancing, the only ones on the dance floor. Even in the photograph it was obvious they were in their own little world, not a thought towards the crowds watching them.
Ginny grabbed his hand and led him towards their favorite armchair. They loved to sit in it, let the fire roar around them and just sit in each other’s arms. Ginny pushed Harry to sit first, then she sat on his lap.
“So,” she asked, placing a loving kiss on his lips, “did you enjoy your birthday?” Harry nodded. He moved to deepen her actions, but she pulled back slightly. “I still need to give your gift.”
Harry wriggled his eye brows. “I know what I want for my present. Can I show you?” He started to press hot kisses along her neck. She gave a little moan, but quickly brought his face back up to her level. She pressed her forehead to his
“In a moment, love,” Ginny said huskily. She drew her wand and casted a silent Summoning Spell. A flat rectangular package floated into her waiting hand. She handed it to him. It was wrapped in moving Snitch paper.
“You really didn’t have to get me anything, Gin,” Harry claimed halfheartedly. After what Molly had said at his party that night, he figured there wouldn’t be a point of really arguing. He was right, because Ginny just rolled her eyes at him and waved at him to open his present.
Harry peeled off the paper, revealing an empty wooden picture frame painted forest green. He looked up at Ginny slightly confused. She was looking at him with apprehension and excitement. He turned his attention back to the frame. He noticed words written at the top in white, ‘Baby’s First Photo”. It took him a solid ten seconds for it to sink in, then he looked back at his wife.
“Baby’s first…” Harry felt in a daze. Ginny nodded at him, giving him the time to process. Then, as if the Knight Bus had run straight into him, it all hit him. Harry beamed with joy. “We’re having a baby?” His voice was hoarse but filled with emotion.
Ginny smiled back at him. “I’m about eight weeks along, but I figured when the little tyke gets here we could hang the picture on the wall there.” She pointed Harry’s favorite part of the house. “I’m guessing from that grin, you’re happy about this?” Her voice was sarcastic, but filled with love.
“Happy?” Harry asked, still unable to retain his emotions, “I could cast the brightest Patronus right now!” He kissed her. He placed all his love and affection into his actions. The desire to show her just how much he loved her had taken him full force.
Eventually he pulled back. “Is that why you haven’t said yes to England?” Harry questioned.
She nodded. “I needed to see a healer and check whether it would be safe for the baby. By the time the cup starts I will already be four months along. They recommend that I do not play once I’m past nine weeks, so I’m going to have to pass.”
“Are you okay with that?” Harry shot her a worried glance. He knew how much she wanted to be called for the English squad, now she received the chance but she couldn’t take it. Would she resent the baby for that?
Ginny blasted that notion away quickly. She smiled at him and pressed a slow and sweet kiss to his lips. “I couldn’t be happier.” She sent him a hard, blazing look that turned his insides into jelly. “I can’t wait to meet this little one.” She took his hand and placed it on her still toned abdomen. Harry could imagine it though, her with a baby bump. Him having to lean around their unborn child to give her a quick kiss.
“I hope she has your hair,” Harry whispered, rubbing her stomach.
Ginny raised an eye brow. “What makes you think our baby is a girl? I bet you we’re having a boy.”
“Why do you think that?”
She gave a little laugh, and pressed a kiss to his cheek. “The ratio of male to female Weasleys is kind of stacked in the male favor. Personally, I hope he has your eyes.” She took the frame out of his hand and placed it a top of one of the tables. “But for now,” her eyes glinted mischievously. “I want to give you your other birthday present.” She grabbed his hand and pulled him out of his seat and led him to their bedroom.
If someone had told Harry seven years ago that his twenty-fourth birthday would be the best day of his life, he would have scoffed at them. He had just lost his only family member and had planned to throw himself into his job. Now he was married to the most incredible woman, who was pregnant with their first child. His first child. He never wanted to let go of this feeling, this feeling of overwhelming love and happiness.
It was as if love had mended his soul. He had been so lost after Sirius, but loving Ginny had made him whole. This life, it was where he wanted to be for the rest of his life. It was the only thing he knew. He wished he could freeze everything and put it into a photograph, just like the ones hanging on the wall. Time would be frozen still, nothing bad would ever happen to them. It would just be him and Ginny and their future family. Life would be prefect. Though, as his amazing wife pushed him onto their bed and snuggled her body over his, his life felt incredible. He wanted to keep making memories with her, with their children, for the rest of his life.
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